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  Repton - historic capital of Mercia


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Autumn is here and the days are getting shorter but the History Group is planning a series of talks and events to fill some winter evenings, together with a 2 day exhibition of photos and documents on 1st & 2nd April 2006. We hope that we will have devised a programme for all tastes. The Group has come a long way in the last 18 months. A lot of work is going on organising meetings, projects, publications, displays, recording reminiscences, building up our archives as well as all the routine work necessary to run the group. It is thanks to everyone involved that we have been able to achieve this good progress in such a short time. However, it is the members who make the group and we are always ready to hear any suggestions or comments you wish to contribute.

                                                                                    Alan Kimber, Chairman.


Since the last Newsletter we have had a photographic display in St Wystan’s Church to coincide with the Open Gardens Weekend and also a talk by Keith Foster about the research and records at the Magic Attic regarding World War casualties. In July we had our first Guided Tour when we went to the historic village of Findern. 

In spite of cool, blustery weather, a band of members assembled at the Green and then went to the Parish Rooms which are currently being beautifully refurbished to give the village another valuable asset and meeting place. Findern was mentioned in the Doomsday Survey of 1086 and has since had an interesting history. The Fynderne family had a fortified Manor House on Castle Hill. When Jane Fynderne married Sir Richard Harpur of Swarkeston in the 1500’s the Fynderne line died out. One of their sons married into the Crewe family starting the Harpur-Crewe line. We were shown round the village and were surprised by the amount of the remaining original village which is hidden away from the main road. Much of this was originally farms and workers cottages now converted to much sought after housing. Jedediah Strutt came to Findern in 1740 and was apprenticed to a wheelwright. He married Elizabeth Wollatt whose family lived at the Hall and in 1780 he built the great mills on the Derwent at Belper. More recent famous residents were Reg Parnell, the racing driver and Edwina Currie. We finished the walk at the very attractive and well cared for All Saint’s Church where we heard a talk about its history. We thank the guides for their excellent information and recommend this walk to others who can follow the route from an excellent leaflet produced by Findern Historical Society. 


Maureen Newton is a local and family historian of many years standing. Although living at Hucknall, she knows South Derbyshire very well and has carried out research work in the area. Maureen works at the superb Erewash Museum in Ilkeston (which is well worth a visit) and has lectured on most aspects of local and family history, some years ago writing a successful book called “Children in the Mines” Our September talk is entitled “A Backward Glance at Childhood Games” in which Maureen will bring to life all those games that you may or may not remember. These games would have been played not just in Repton but in towns and villages all over the country. The talk may involve a little audience participation!!

ON TUESDAY 18TH OCTOBER  We have a “Display Evening” for which the theme is “The Village School”. It will include School Log Books, photographs and other memorabilia. Please bring along any photographs or documents you may have or just tell us about your memories of school friends, teachers, sports days etc to make this a memorable evening.

ON TUESDAY 15TH NOVEMBER we have Victorian Magic Lantern slides by David Guest. These are not just from Repton but all over the world and many are around a hundred years old.

ON TUESDAY 29TH NOVEMBER we have an additional meeting which is a visit to Repton School Library by kind invitation of Paul Stevens, the Librarian. This library has many interesting books some of which are hundreds of years old. The numbers for this event are strictly limited to 20 so booking is essential. Paid up members will have preference. Please book through Alan Kimber (01283 704042).

WE START 2006 ON TUESDAY 17TH JANUARY when David Stanier will give us an illustrated talk about the well known company and the staff of Tailby and George Ltd who for many years ran the Blue Bus Services between Burton and Derby.

TUESDAY 21ST FEBRUARY.  A talk by Jim Willder called “Ticknall Paper Boy”. These are the reminiscences of the village by a local lad.

TUESDAY 21ST MARCH.  A 1950’s Display Evening. We will display items from the 1950’s and would ask members to bring along photographs and items from the same era. This should be an evening of many memories and reminiscences about life as it used to be.

TUESDAY 18TH APRIL. Philip Heath, a well know local historian, will be talking about the Diary kept by John Joseph Briggs of Melbourne between 1820 and 1875.

TUESDAY 16TH MAY.  We will have our first (hopefully short) AGM followed by a talk about the history of Burton Abbey by Dr Robin Trotter.


We are indebted to Philip Heath, the Heritage Officer of South Derbyshire District Council, who has provided us with a CD containing a series of photographs of a plan (or map) of Repton by Samuel Wyatt drawn in 1762 for the Calke Estate.

Philip had discovered this in the Staffordshire Record Office and took a series of photos to keep a record of it. The plan shows every building in Repton at that time as well as the Field Names and size of fields. It is a most valuable asset to the Group. Originally there would have been a book to accompany it showing the owners and occupiers of the land but this cannot be traced at present. Currently he is seeking advice to see whether the plan can be re-photographed in a manner that it can be displayed as one complete sheet. 

We are also indebted to Martin Badder, a friend of Alan Hiley, who has donated  a much needed projector to the Group.  We are also working with Repton Parish Council to investigate the possibility of the provision of a Tourist Map of the village. This would be sited in a suitable location to guide the many tourists and visitors around Repton’s historic features.






Don’t forget our Web Site at then using the link to Repton Village History Group. It covers our programme and many other aspects of the Group’s activities as well as having historical information and snippets about the past.


A.K. 3.9.05

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