Place:Dronfield, Derbyshire, England

Alt namesDranefeldsource: Domesday Book (1985) p 69
Hill Topsource: hamlet in parish
Holmley Commonsource: hamlet in parish
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish, Urban district
Coordinates53.3°N 1.467°W
Located inDerbyshire, England
See alsoScarsdale Hundred, Derbyshire, Englandhundred in which it was located
North East Derbyshire District, Derbyshire, Englandadministrative district covering the area since 1974
the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Dronfield is a town in the North East Derbyshire District of Derbyshire, England. Since 1935 it has comprised the three communities of Dronfield, Dronfield Woodhouse and Coal Aston. It is sited in the valley of the small River Drone, and lies between the town of Chesterfield and the city of Sheffield. The Peak District National Park lies 3 miles to the west. The town's name means "open land infested with drones" (male bees).

Dronfield is known to have been in existence prior to the 1086 Domesday Book, and has a 12th-century parish church. In 1662 Charles II granted the town a market, although this later ceased because of competition from Chesterfield and Sheffield. The industrial history of the town includes coal mining, the wool trade, the production of soap and steel, and engineering. Today a range of manufacturing firms still operate within the town.

Dronfield's population has increased dramatically in post-war years from 6,500 in 1945 to its current size of just over 21,000 (estimate based on UK census of 2011).

Dronfield was originally a parish in the Scarsdale Hundred of Derbyshire, England. It was made a civil parish in 1866 and in 1894 it became a urban district. Since 1974 it has been in located in the non-metropolitan North East Derbyshire District. Dronfield Woodhouse and Coal Aston were formerly separate civil parishes.


Between the 16th and 19th centuries, Dronfield grew around various industries, the most widespread of which was coal mining, with pits at Stubley being mentioned in the 16th century and a map of Hill Top in the 17th century showing some workings. Further mines were opened at Coal Aston in 1785 and Carr Lane in Dronfield Woodhouse in 1795.

The town also benefited from trade with the lead mining and grindstone industries in the Peak District. The wealth of the Rotheram family, who became the Lords of the Manor of Dronfield, was based on the lead trade. Notable buildings in the town include several 16th- and 17th-century houses.

Image:Derbyshire NE Chesterfield 100px B.png

During the 16th century, Dronfield with its sheep farmers had a significant number of families working in the wool trade, engaged in spinning and weaving and also the production and selling of cloth. Soaper Lane, being next to the river, was the centre of the soap-making and tanning industry in the town, with a dye works also situated there.

In 1882 William Cammell's steelworks, which specialised in rolling rails, was 'removed' to Workington in west Cumberland. Steelworkers and their families moved too. It is estimated that 1,500 townspeople made the trip to Workington.

A Vision of Britain through Time provides the following description of Dronfield from John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales of 1870-72:

"DRONFIELD, a village, a township, and a [registration] sub-district in Chesterfield [registration] district, Derby; and a parish partly also in Ecclesall-Bierlow [registration] district. The village stands on a branch of the river Rother, 5½ miles W of Eckington [railway] station, and 6 NNW of Chesterfield; is a neat place, with many respectable houses; was known at Domesday as Dranefield; has a post office under Sheffield, and fairs on the Wednesday after 12 March, 25 April, 11 Aug., and the Thursday after 12 Oct.; and was formerly a market-town.
"The township includes the village, and extends into the country. Real property: £10,940; of which £2,184 are in mines. Population: 2,998. Houses: 641.
"The sub-district contains also four other townships of Dronfield parish, and a chapelry in Stavely parish. Acres: 19,340. Population: 5,689. Houses, 1,189.
"The parish comprises the townships of Dronfield, Unstone, CoalAston, Holmesfield and Little Barlow in Chesterfield [registration] district, and those of Dore and Totley in Ecclesall-Bierlow [registration] district. Acres, 15,580. Real property, £25,873; of which £2,196 are in mines. Population: 6,013. Houses: 1,265. The property is much subdivided. Coal is worked; hardware is manufactured; and there is a sulphureous spring. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Lichfield. Value: £224. Patron: the Lord Chancellor. The church stands on an elevation near the village; is decorated English; has a fine tower and spire; had formerly a chantry; and contains a brass of two priests of 1399. The [perpetual] curacies of Dore and Holmesfield are separate benefices. There are an Independent chapel, a Baptist chapel, seven Methodist chapels, two free schools, and charities £149.

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