William Woolley: History of County of Derby

Scope and Content

William Woolley, 'History of County of Derby', in the hand of Stephen Glover, 167 folios: (fo. 1) title; (fo. 3) dedication to George Rogers, Merchant at Mile End, near London; (fo. 4) preface; (fo. 6) list of contents; (fo. 7v) text.

Inside the front cover is a pasted slip describing the contents; a note by Samuel Sandars; the note 'Bought at Sotheby's at Sale of the Bateman Heirlooms May 1893 per Mr Quaritch. It has not appeared in print SS'; and the bookplates of Bateman of Middleton Hall (by Youlgrave) in the County of Derby, and of Samuel Sandars, 1893.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Woolley or Wolley (d. 1719) was born around the middle of the seventeenth century, the son of William Woolley, a London silkman. He became a successful merchant in the Spanish trade in London, and developed interests in the Derby lead trade. Woolley retired to Derbyshire, the native county of his family, and bought Darley Abbey, an estate north of Derby, in 1709. It was during his retirement that he wrote his topographical history of Derby.

Stephen Glover (d. 1869), author and antiquary, wrote The Peak guide (Derby, 1830), and compiled The history and gazetteer of the county of Derby (2 vols; Derby, 1831-1833). He died on 26 December 1869.

Access Information

Open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Bequeathed by Samuel Sandars, 1894.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to William Woolley's history of Derbyshire (see below), and the entry on Stephen Glover in Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds, Dictionary of national biography, Vol. VIII (London, 1908), p. 8.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue.


William Woolley's history was published from a contemporary (not autograph) manuscript copy of the early eighteenth century, now in the Derby Reference Library, as William Woolley's history of Derbyshire, edited by Catherine Glover and Philip Rider (Derbyshire Record Society, Vol. VI, 1981). The present manuscript appears to have been unknown to the editors. A similar transcript by Stephen Glover is in the Derby Reference Library, and the relationship of this Glover version with Woolley's original is discussed in the introduction to Glover and Rider's book.

Geographical Names