Old Duffield Village, Church, and Castle,
With some Personal Reminiscences

A Lecture given before the Duffield Branch of the Church of England Men's Society, Dec., 8th., 1921,

The Living


It is well known that the stipend of the Vicar of Duffield is very inadequate; but it is not so generally known how the living of so important a parish, which has the presentation of three other livings in its gift, is now so meagrely provided for. To explain this we must retrace our steps a little.

Henry de Ferrars, the builder of the castle at Duffield, also had a castle at Tutbury, where he founded a Priory, and gave to the monks there the tithes of Duffield Manor, except one-third, which was reserved for the parish church. In 1332, Henry, Earl of Lancaster, the son of Edmund, took away the one-third share of tithe which had been given by Henry de Ferrars to Duffield church, and gave it to the Hospital of the Blessed Virgin at Leicester, which he had founded, leaving Duffield with what were called the "small tithes" only, i.e., tithes of milk, fowls, geese, calves, pigs, etc.

So that Duffield, which up to 1332 had been a rectory, then became a vicarage. The patronage of the vicarage, by the gift of Henry, Earl of Lancaster, was vested in the hands of the Bishop of the Diocese, and all vicars of Duffield, from the year 1332 to appointment of the late Rev. Francis Wellington Moore, in 1858, were presented by the Bishop. The late Mr. Rowland Smith effected an exchange of presentations with the late Bishop Lonsdale, and so obtained the gift of the living of Duffield.

When the monastic religious houses were dissolved by Henry VIII., he confiscated their lands and revenues. But these were not given back to the parish churches from which they had in many cases been taken - he retained some of them in his own hands, and gave others to private individuals, his favourites and supporters. In this way, Duffield rectory and its tithes, which remained in the hands of the Crown until the reign of James I., were then given to private persons, and subsequently came to the family of Pindar, who lived in the old Rectory House, and from them to their descendant, Earl Beauchamp, who is now the Lay Rector of Duffield, and receives the tithes. The rights of the chancel are also vested in his hands.

When, by the Tithe Commutation Act of 1836, tithes were changed from payment in kind to payment in money, Duffield was of the value of £660 a year. But the small tithes and glebe land which remained for the stipend of the vicar amount to about £160 a year only. Thus by far the greater part of the money which had been given to support the church and clergy of Duffield was diverted from the parish, and eventually got into the hands of private persons.

This is one of the many instances where, under various pretexts, the church has been despoiled of property left to provide for the worship of God and the support of the clergy. (The Tithe's Commissioner's Report for 1881 showed that £1,000,000 a year in tithe had been diverted from the church and received by laymen)

It ought to be mentioned that the present Earl Beauchamp has for many years past given ten per cent of the nett value of the Duffield tithes as a subscription to funds connected with Duffield Church, and, it is understood, a similar percentage of the Belper tithes is given to that parish.

First published 1922, Derby, Harpur and Son. Website copyright 2001 Jed Bland. 16.04.01