Updated 22 Jul 2007
WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900
Killer's Quarry, Middleton
Hopton-Wood Limestone was first quarried about 1820 in Hopton Wood at
the West end of Via Gellia, 1.5 miles West of Middleton. The limestone
was very fine, almost like marble, used for over 100,000 War Graves, though
now worked out. The Western outcrop was quarried by Hopton-Wood Stone Co,
the Eastern (almost in the village of Middleton) by Killer brothers,
beginning about 1870 (should be 1850s according to Stuart Flint,
see below). In 1905 the two firms merged.
The number of quarry
workers from Middleton and Wirksworth rose from 61 in 1871 to 234 in 1901,
from the 8th to the most common job among males over 10.
See Hopton-Wood Stone for more information.
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Stuart Flint writes (22 Jul 2007):
Viewing the photograph re Killers Quarry (ph 496) it states that the
quarry was begun in approx 1870.. this is not correct..I have evidence
which is taken from a court case when Killers were taken to court by the
original Hopton Wood Stone Company for calling their stone Hopton Wood..
Joseph Killer the last brother alive when the court case took place
(Killer Bros) stated that his father, William Killer (my Gr Gr Gr Uncle )
a Joiner in his family firm of Building Contractors whilst in the process
of digging out the foundations for a new Workshop on land he owned at the
rear of his house (Killers Yard still so named) situated in the area known
as Middleton Moor alongside land owned by my Gr Gr Uncle Samuel Joseph
Sheldon ...struck what he recognised instantly as fine Hopton Wood Stone
the quality which the original firm on Middleton Moor were having problems
with quarrying due to an over hang of muck and clay..Spencer's who managed
the Middleton Moor Quarry came to an arrangement with William to take
block stone from his land by the 1850s ..he becoming involved as a Stone
Merchant and in time by the 1860s when his sons became adults they took
control.. William returning to the family Building Firm..Killers Quarry
as such was founded in the 1850s
William married Mary Willans of Brinksway near Cheadle as his first wife
she mother to John William Joseph and Adam Killer who became known as
Killer Bros Hopton Wood Stone ..When Mary nee Willans died William
married Anna Brownson daughter of John and Elizabeth Brownson nee Walker
Elizabeth sister to my Grt Grandfather Joseph Walker ..Anna's sister
Elizabeth Brownson married Francis Eaton known as Frank whose parents
lived at Aqueduct Cottage Leawood on The Cromford Canal Franks neice
Violet Eaton daughter of Josiah and Anne Eaton nee Sims married Thomas
Arthur Farnsworth who was cousin to my sister in laws father James
Farnsworth of Matlock ..Farnsworths Stonemasons and Building Contractors
whose allied kin were Killers Batterley's and others of my allied kin
Frank and Violet lived at Aqueduct Cottage from 1909 - 1930s after which
the Bark family lived there one of their heirs born at the cottage in
1950s who lives near my home today.. Aqueduct Cottage was built by Peter
Nighingale 2nd Grt Uncle of Florence Nightingale also known as Wigwell
Cottage at the junction of Cromford Canal and his own branch to Lea Mills..
The facts surrounding the Eaton family have been given to me by Mr and Mrs
Turberville of Matlock.. Mrs Turberville now in her mid 90s her husband
99 years of age a retired Haulage Contractor and Farmer Mrs Turberville
is Grandaughter to Josiah and Anne Eaton nee Sims The Sims family also of
my own kin..
I have seen the original transcript of the Court Case dealing with Killers
and Hopton Wood Stone Quarry ... William and Anna Killer nee Brownson had
children one of whom Samuel Thomas Killer married Elizabeth Mather her
brother Edward Mather who married Hannah Brooks adopted my Aunt who married
Sidney Flint my father's brother, Chief Engineer at John Smedley Lea Mills
deceased ... Edward and Elizabeth children of Thomas and Pheobe Mather
nee Spencer of Water Lane Middleton
Thomas Mathers sister Millicent Mather married as her 1st husband Daniel
Doxey of Middleton their sons being John Doxey who married Lizzie Hayward
and George Doxey who married Sarah Kilkenny dau of Dominic Kilkenny ..
Daniel died in early marriage and Millicent remarried my wife's Grt Uncle
William Evans their son Herbert marrying back into Killer's they
being parents to George Evans who was my School Master at Middleton Junior
School 1940s and William Evans whose daughter lives near my home today ..
Herbert's nephew also named Herbert married Sarah Jane Hall they my wife's
Regards Stuart G Flint
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