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Scheduled Monument record MDR10913 - The Abbey Public House, Darley Abbey

Type and Period (4)

  • (Former Type) (Post Medieval to Mid 20th Century - 1540 AD? to 1950 AD?)
  • (Late 20th Century to 21st Century - 1979 AD to 2050 AD)
  • (Medieval to Tudor - 1146 AD? to 1538 AD)
  • (Medieval to Tudor - 1146 AD? to 1538 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

The 'Old Abbey Building', Darley Street, is part of the remains of the Abbey of Darley (Augustinian Canons), and is of 15th century date. (1) The Old Abbey Building, now semi-derelict, is almost completely medieval. (2) [see also SMR 32469 for the only other survival] Scheduled. A late perpendicular two storied building of domestic character, probably situated to the north-west of the now obliterated cloistral buildings. Part of the Abbot's House or Guest House (?). Two light square headed windows in the east face and four centred arched window in the south-west face. Restored in 1979/80 by the Wood Newton Partnership and converted into a public house. The Augustinian Priory had been founded by Robert Ferrers c. 1146. Some of the masonry exhibits late 12th century fragments. (3) The Old Abbey, Darley Street, is a Grade II* listed building, 2 storeys high, built from stone with an old tile roof. (4) SK 354384. Darley Abbey - refectory (?). The analysis of samples from the principal floor joists and a post indicated a felling date of c. 1661 for the wood, and shows that timbers were re-used in the 17th century or later subdivision of a 15th century building to make cottages. (5) Five of the ten samples from Darley Abbey (no 10) have sapwood surviving. The average date of the final hardwood rings is 1399 and so an estimated felling date of 1429 is suggested. This date is compatible with the architecture of the building and makes it clear that the first floor at its south end, from where the samples were taken, was original to it. This suggests that the building was more likely to have served a private, residential function - perhaps the Abbot's lodging - than a communal one such as the refectory as previously suggested. (6) The only building remaining of the Augustinian Abbey is an upper floor hall house built probably in c. 1450 and which has a roof of great quality. It is now converted into a pub. Roman, medieval and post-medieval potsherds were found during the conversion of the building. (7) The oldest and most celebrated building in Darley village is without doubt the Abbey Inn. This was converted into a pub in 1979. The building, then long derelict, but previously converted by the Evans family as workers' cottages, is the only authentic surviving part of the former Abbey of St Mary, Darley, once Derbyshire's largest monastery. It would appear to date from c.1300 and later, but its original function and relationship to the rest of the Abbey is not known. Photographed by Richard Keene in c.1889. (8) The only complete building surviving from the Abbey has been restored as a pub. The upper walls of this building are constructed in a soft, pale sandstone, almost unique in the village, built on top of earlier gritstone and sandstone walls and altered at a later date (c. 16th century), introducing a massive buttress of coarse Ashover type gritstone. The building may originally have been the guest house or the Abbot's house. It has a simple medieval hall-house layout and is likely to have been used as a farmhouse during the 200 years which followed the Abbey's dissolution in 1538. A large 18th century inglenook fireplace dividing the undercroft on the ground floor survives from this period. With the establishment of the Evans Mill and the mill village, the old building was converted in the 1790s into three tiny houses and a butcher's shop. Timber windows, brickwork partitions, plaster floors and wooden staircases were introduced, together with a second floor which was used as a communal sewing and spinning room. Residential use ceased in 1932, after which the building remained unoccupied, as attempts to find a use for it had failed. It was saved from demolition through the concern of local residents and the efforts of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society which had acquired the building in 1936. In 1977 it was purchased by the wife of a local architect, and planning approval was obtained for conversion to use as a public house. The adaptation of the building sought to restore the original character of the medieval hall and its undercroft, with architectural evidence left visible wherever possible. The age of the massive buttress suggested that some movement had occurred along the east wall of the building when it was part of the monastery, possibly due to the weight of the roof, a view later reinforced when several large stone roofing slates were found during the excavation of a cellar extension. There is also evidence of an early range of buildings connecting at right angles to the west wall and this, no doubt, caused the force of the roof spreading to occur on the east side. The repairs to the building took fifteen months to complete and followed faithfully the evidence of original features. (9)

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: MHLG 1917/11/A,1962,5.
  • <2> Personal Observation: F1 FRH 29-NOV-66.
  • <3> Scheduling record: A.M's Eng. & Wales 1961,31 (M.O.W.).
  • <4> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. List entry number 1287744.
  • <5> Article in serial: Laxton, R R et al. 1982. 'List of sample timbers from the East Midlands', Transactions of the Thoroton Society. Volume 86, p 77.
  • <6> Article in serial: 1983. 'List of sample timbers from the East Midlands and elsewhere', Transactions of the Thoroton Society. Volume 87, p 45.
  • <7> Index: TPAT. 2348. 2348.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: Craven, M. 1996. The Illustrated History of Derby Suburbs. p 56.
  • <9> Article in serial: Wood, M. c. 1980?. 'Darley Abbey, Derby', Transactions of the Association for Studies in the Conservation of Historic Buildings. Volume 5, pp 14-19.



Grid reference Centred SK 35257 38411 (10m by 18m)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR2416

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Record last edited

Jul 22 2020 2:27PM

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