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Smalley village in Derbyshire

Smalley village in Derbyshire has a reputation as a clean and attractive place with some well kept village gardens. It is situated 6 miles north east of Derby and mostly straddles along the Derby to Heanor road, though there has been an estate off the main road, here for some time.

There is a strong sense of community spirit in Smalley, helped by the fact that it still retains its village school, has a church, a hall, several shops and 2 pubs in the village itself and one on the outskirts.

The Richardson family helped shape the history of Smalley village. In 1610 they bought Smalley Farm Estate with coal workings under the local clay. Their descendents prospered as the need for coal grew, which was transported to Derby and Leicester. In the early part of the 18th century, brothers John and Samuel Richardson founded a colliers charity which benefited the village miners and also endowed a free school for 12 poor boys, which was built in 1721. Endowment still continues though the school is administered by the local authority.

The Smalley Dam was created at the end of the 18th century by John Redford, of nearby Smalley Hall, the High Sheriff of Derbyshire. During the 20th century it became silted up after years of neglect. The Smalley Community Project took on the task of its restoration and removing of silt. Gradually the area, presented by its owner to the village in 1990, became an amenity to be enjoyed by all who appreciate the countryside.

The Church of St John the Baptist was built in the late eighteenth century on the site of a much earlier church. There were additions and alterations in 1844 when transepts were added, 1862, and 1912 when the pretty, nearly detached short west tower, with its pryamidal roof was added. In the wall of the porch is inserted a 7th century Saxon Cross. The bell tower was built to house a gift of 5 bells given to the village by the Rev Charles Kerry who was born in Smalley and interned in the churchyard. It was only recently discovered that the chime of the five balls is the heaviest in England with the largest bell, the tenor, weighing over 2 tons.

Stainsby Hall has been the home of the Sitwell family since 1785.The old house was demolished in 1971-72 and replaced by a Spanish-style ranch. Also demolished, earlier in 1956 was Smalleys most distinquished building , the Round House, an old fashioned toll house.

Church of St John the Baptist in Smalley village, Derbyshire
Church of St John the Baptist

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