Breadsall is an Ancient Parish in the county of Derbyshire. 

Parish church:

Parish registers begin:

  • Parish registers: 1573
  • Bishop’s Transcripts: 1673

Nonconformists include: Wesleyan Methodist

Adjacent Parishes

Historical Descriptions

The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales 1870

BREADSALL, a parish in Shardlow district, Derbyshire; on the Little Eaton canal and the Midland railway, 2½ miles NNE of Derby. It has a post office under Derby. Acres, 2,410. Real property, £4,114. Pop., 592. Houses, 135. The property is divided among a few. A fine building-stone is quarried. A small priory was founded by the Dethicks, in the time of Henry III.; was given, at the dissolution, to the Duke of Suffolk; passed to. Sir John Bentley, to Erasmus Darwin, and to Sir Francis Darwin; was purchased, in the present century by Francis Morley, Esq.; underwent, in 1861, extensive restoration; and is now a beautiful specimen of pointed architecture, with a tower 70 feet high, commanding a view to Lichfield cathedral. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Lichfield. Value, £580. Patron, Sir J. H. Crewe, Bart. The church is decorated English, in good condition. There are a Wesleyan chapel, an endowed national school, and charities £70. Hierom, the abridger of Poole’s “Synopsis,” was rector; and Dr. Darwin, the naturalist, was a resident.

Source: The Imperial Gazetteer of England & Wales [Wilson, John M]. A. Fullarton & Co. N. d. c. [1870-72].

Health and Accommodation

The following has been extracted from the 1842 Sanitary Enquiry. The article gives and interesting insight into the living conditions in Breadsall in the 1840s during an outbreak of Typhoid Fever.

The parish of Breadsall lies north-eastward of Derby, from which it is three miles distant. It is situated in a deep hollow, almost, surrounded with hills of a moderate height ; hence, from its very low position, it suffers the disadvantages arising from dampness of the land, humidity, and denseness of the atmosphere, frequent fogs, and unwholesome terrestrial emanations. According to the census of 1831, this parish contains 30 houses, and these are occupied by 560 inhabitants, who reside chiefly in the village of the same name. Now it is remarkable that this fact assigns to each of the houses an average of precisely eight persons—a proportion higher as eight to five than the general average throughout England, and in so much the more favourable to the evolution of bad air, to the neglect of personal cleanliness, and to the production of various other causes of disease. The village of Breadsall stands at the bottom and on the declivities of those eminences by which it is overlooked on three sides. Throughout its site, the subsoil consists chiefly of red marl, which is impervious to water ; and this issues to the surface as moisture, or in irregular springs. In this way it exposes the inhabitants to the influence of a noxious dampness, except in a few instances where the houses are protected by soughs and clear water-courses.

Breadsall possesses a south-westerly aspect. The drainage takes the same direction, and depends entirely on the flow of one sluggish brook. This is formed by the confluence of two small streams, which unite at the lower end of the village, bringing with them the whole of its refuse in their filthy open channels. One of these streams traverses the place from east to west, having many of the dwellings built on its margin ; the other runs from north to south, and joins the former in its south-westerly course. Thus, their mingled waters, loaded with impurities of every kind, move tardily onward to the Derwent, through meadows and flat grounds, which, from their lowness, are often inundated by storms and floods at the rainy season, and thus exposed to the deposition of every kind of putrescent matter, which gives rise to noxious exhalations.

Within the last two years the preceding natural impediments to a free and salutary drainage have been materially increased by the construction of the North Midland Railway; completion, there have been frequent floods and a constant overflow of the meadows with stagnant water extensively charged with decaying animal and vegetable matter from the neighbouring houses. Here it may be observed that, previously lo the recent obstruction of its drainage, the village of Breadsall is not known to have suffered more than once from epidemic fever within the remembrance of its oldest inhabitants and that, with the exception of the effluvia arising from the partially dried meadows floating in the south-west wind during the droughts of summer and autumn, there are no appreciable causes of fever connected with this locality which have not been in constant and occasional action for ages. There is no evidence, however, to connect the fever of Breadsall with any simple exclusive cause, although the disease may undoubtedly have been promoted by the effluvian miasms, engendered in the mud resting on the surfaces of its flooded meadows, and on the sides of its half-dried brooks.

It may also be observed, as a fact frequently noticed, that deleterious exhalations abound most where the stagnant waters are nearly or quite evaporated from the surfaces of inundated lands and it is another well-ascertained fact, that in many countries the “malaria” does not rise until all the surface water has disappeared, and left the face of the ground a parched and barren desert.


With few exceptions, the cottages at Breadsall are poor and in bad repair. They are low, small, ill ventilated, and crowded with inmates ; most of them have thatched roofs, and, from decay or other causes, these are in a condition unfit to exclude the rain and weather. Hence generally, the roofs, walls, and floors are damp and chilling. On the outside, the cottages are either imperfectly drained, or altogether without drains. In many instances there are two or three feet of earth, often there is a pigsty leaning against the walls, and supplying the cottagers freely, though imperceptibly, with the seeds of discomfort, inactivity, and imperfect health, or positive disease.

Many of the villagers keep pigs, and have dunghills with heaps of manure and offal close to the houses; from such practices incalculable mischiefs necessarily proceed : they create offensive odours, unwholesome air, and malarian miasms of various and noxious kinds. No pigsty or collection of garbage ought ever to be allowed within several yards of a dwelling-house, street, or public thoroughfare.

We learn that Breadsall, about 10 years ago, was visited with a fever similar to the present in its nature and effects, but since that time, the parish has not been particularly unhealthy.

The epidemic now prevailing, broke out in the month of September last, and up to the time of our inquiry, there had been 76 cases of this number, five persons, males and females, had died. We found several advanced in their convalescence, and some under active treatment.

From careful inquiry, and from the observations we were able to institute on the occasion, we could not perceive any characteristic feature in this epidemic whereby to distinguish it from the common typhoid fever of this country ; unless the frequency and severity of diarrhoea, or over-activity of the bowels and the petechial eruptions may be mentioned. Mr. Buxton, the medical officer for the Breadsall district, states as his opinion, that Breadsall has been free from fever since the year 1830, at which period it was very severe, attributes its introduction, on the present occasion, to the fact of three servants, one woman and two men, having caught it at a distance in service, and who returned home ill, and that it then spread, owing to the peculiar locality of the place and the bad living. Mr. Buxton, however, observes, that a case of fever had occurred previously, but of a different nature, and which did not communicate to any other parties. There were nearly 60 cases of fever in one week, about the first week in November.

He has attended in all about 75 to 80 cases : several of whom were not paupers.

We add an extract from Mr. Buxton’s medical report, as being calculated to throw additional light upon the origin and development of the epidemic, on which we are reporting.

“The fever,” he says, “assumed the most typhoid kind: but it is not of a very malignant character, a few bad cases have very sore throats it is contagious. The first case was that of one Slater, a working man on the railroad; it began about the middle of September. None caught it from him; but at the latter end of November, John and Charles Dolinan came home ill of this fever; the adjoining houses began on the following week: and from these the whole village. I have twelve more cases than mentioned here. It has not attacked the more respectable and cleaner houses.
At our request for information concerning its nature and character, Mr. Buxton has furnished us with the following communication :-

“Symptoms of fever at Breadsall, December 29th, 1840. —Lassitude and anxiety, followed by rigors with alternate flushes, great thirst white tongue with red edges, quick and frequent pulse, high-coloured urine, costiveness or diarrhoea, hurried respiration, great anxiety and in a few cases petechiae have appeared. “Treatment—antimony, calomel combined with jalap or opium as the case required; cinchona, at the termination of the fever, has been found very beneficial.”

We are indebted to the Rev. Mr. Crews for a valuable document, in which he describes the origin and progress, the symptoms and treatment of most of the cases, with great conciseness and perspicuity. It merits the best attention in this Report, and we give it as follows :-

” In the month of November a solitary case of fever appeared at the north end of the village; the patient was a labourer on the railroad; he continued ill several weeks, but ultimately recovered. No more cases occurred until the end of October, when I was informed that there were several persons ill in the cottages on the hill above the church, but that it was only the influenza. On the 1st of November I went up to see the sick persons, and found two or three individuals ill in each of the five cottages, and I immediately perceived that the symptoms were those of typhus fever, and of a very severe character. From this date the disease seemed to break out in different parts of the village with the most extraordinary rapidity. On the 3rd of November I visited 20 individuals attacked with the fever; in two cases every member of the family was down. On the 5th of November Dr. Bent came over from Derby at my request, and visited seven or eight families. He prescribed the tartanzed antimony, two grains to the half-pint, a table-spoonful every four hours, and afterwards hydrarg. cum cretd, three or four grains every four hours. This treatment has been adhered to in most of the cases for a few days, with the addition of some simple fever draughts, and has proved very successful. In some cases blisters at the back of the neck have been found necessary.

“The symptoms of the disease have been in the most cases as follows:  commencement heaviness and chilliness, giddiness in the head and pain in the loins, several days before the patient has quite knocked up. Then violent vomiting and diarrhoea. Tongue at first very white, in a few days like a piece of raw beef, then changing to a dark brown; stools black and offensive; urine in small quantities, very thick, and if not immediately removed, becoming quite putrid. In favourable cases and where an emetic or brisk purgative has been early administered, the disease at the fortnight’s end has assumed a favourable crisis, and convalescence has taken place, though very slowly, the patient being left state of extreme debility. In many cases the patients have been in a state of raging delirium for several nights together. One poor man destroyed himself in one of those fits at the hospital, and another poor woman has been obliged to be sent to the lunatic asylum. Five deaths have occurred in the space of one month, but they have been cases where from the first, the disease assumed the most aggravated form, and in previously unhealthy constitutions. In these cases these cases the symptoms were obstinate diarrhoea from the commencement, in the latter stages extensive ulcerations of the throat and fauces, and expectorations of bloody mucus. In one case there was violent bleeding from the nose and mouth, and petechiae previous to death. We have had in all 76 cases, nearly the whole of the poorer population of the place, and fresh cases still occur.

“Previous to the appearance of this severe epidemic we have had no typhus fever for ten years, and the village has been in a most healthy state. I cannot in any way account for the seventy with which it has raged amongst us, unless it is owing in some measure to the large quantity of standing water which has been left in our meadows by the operations of the North Midland Railway, and which, if not in some way carried off, will convert the surrounding country into a swamp.

“The rapid spread of the fever may also in a great degree be attributed to the large families congregated under one roof, and sleeping in the same room, and when so many were ill at the same time, it was found impossible to separate them.
“Every precaution has been used, such as providing proper change of bed-linen, chloride of lime, and fumigation of sulphuric acid, and manganese, &c, &c.”

With the object of affording a distinct, view of the facts where- on this report is founded, we exhibit them in a summary, as preferable to a tabular sketch of the observations noted during our inspection of the several cottages, and our investigations respecting the general condition of the village, the houses and inhabitants.

Cottage No. 1. Head of the family a widow: house good, and dry; its apartments small; rent 10d. a-week; six persons, three men and three women, labourers, slept in it; two sleeping-rooms, three persons in each. Parish relief is received, and attendance of the union medical officer. The fever broke out here in October, and one person, a girl, died of it. At this time the cottage must have been overcrowded with seven inhabitants. This girl, aged 14 years, worked at a mill for 15d. a-week; this mill being some miles distant from her home, she was usually engaged in walking, and at work from four o’clock in the morning till eight o’clock in the evening, being 16 hours in the day; she would thus be exposed to great and frequent alternations of temperature, besides the fatigue of travelling to and from her daily occupation. These circumstances, in connexion with the deficient sustenance and clothing obtained by the miserable pittance of her wages, were causes quite sufficient to render this poor creature unusually liable to fever of the worst kind.

No. 2. Head of the family a waggoner, with 9.s. a-week, and food, for wages; has two sons in farm service; does not receive parish relief; house good and dry, with the apartments small rent 10d. a-week, or 2l. a-year. Five persons sleep in two rooms. There were four cases of fever in this house, and one of indisposition, suspected to be febrile; no deaths, nor previous illness. The first case of the epidemic in this row on the hill occurred in this cottage.

No. 3. Head of the family a labourer, at 15s. a-week wages. House good and dry, with the apartments small; the weekly rent 1Od. Six persons sleep in two rooms. The fever attacked them about five weeks ago, and the whole family have had the disease: five of them are recovering. They receive 21 pounds of bread, with porter, and 7s. a-week of parish relief, besides assistance from private sources. Out of these six cases there was one death—the subject, a male, committed suicide in a lunatic asylum, having been sent to that institution while labouring under the febrile delirium at an early stage. Porter, as given in these cases, is a good restorative. Where gentle and diffusive stimulants are eligible in fevers, or other diseases, wine is generally exhibited with advantage; but where sustenance is required at the same time with moderate excitement, as in some chronic affections, and in convalescence from fever, the most beneficial results may be derived from the regulated and liberal administration of porter. Wine cheers, and keeps life from languishing; but it is innutritious. Porter is a generous nutriment; it revives, strengthens, and recruits the whole animal economy.

No. 4. Head of the family a labourer, earning 7s. a-week state of the house good, being nearly similar to the three before-mentioned cottages: three persons sleep in it. They have all had the fever; the first, a girl, was seized about three weeks ago; no deaths, no parish assistance.

No.5. Head of the family a labourer, with good wages: house constructed as the four preceding ones; three persons sleep in it. Two of them have suffered from the fever, and recovered without parish assistance.

These five cottages, forming a continuous row, have been built within a few years: they are in good repair, with slate roofs, and have a fair appearance. They are situated on a steep declivity, overlooking the church and east end of the village, with a southerly aspect. Behind them, on the north, the ground rises high, and covers the wall to some height, without proper drainage, and the removal of manure and pigsties to a safe distance. These houses will, ere long, if they are not so already, become exposed to foul air and dampness. Their occupants would seem rather to have been impregnated with the febrile poison, by contagion, through personal intercourse, than by the infection of malaria, or other volatile miasms.

No. 6. This is “The Old Hall,” now used as a public-house. It is large, well ventilated, and has a drain through the middle of it: ten sleep here, but not more than two in a room; one boy, aged 12 years, has had the fever; the case was mild.

No. 7. Head of the family a stocking-maker, with earnings about 7s. a-week, subject to deductions. Three sleep in this cottage in one room; it is in very bad repair, with the walls damp and decaying. It overhangs an impure gutter, and is surrounded with masses of vegetable matter in a state of decomposition; the place seems quite a hotbed of “malaria.” The rent is 2l. a-year. One boy has had the fever, and is now recovering: he requires relief: but this being refused by the Guardians, the Rev. H. Crewe kindly affords him assistance. This boys case is entitled to parochial relief, which he has since received.

No. 8. Head of Hie family a labourer, with wages of 11s. a-week: has not asked for parish relief; the house damp, and not clean; a pig is kept close to the cottage, which stands in a very low situation, and has much water about it. It contains two sleeping-rooms: one person has the fever; it is severe, and continues under treatment.

No. 9. Head of the family the parish clerk; earns about 13.s. a-week as a labourer on the highway. His house is pretty good, clean, and without any appearance of poverty. There are four inmates, and they all sleep in one room; one had fever, and recovered.

No.10. Head of the family a labourer, with 11s. a-week wages The house is good, and contains seven persons, who all sleep in one room. Rent 6l. 4s., including land for a cow: no appearance of poverty, nor application for relief. One person, the wife, has had the fever; but she is now getting well: there is a pigsty close to this cottage, and the effluvium from it is unwholesome.

No. 11. Head of the family a labourer, at 11s a-week wages but in uncertain work; has a wife and six children: two of his girls used to go to “the mill” at a distance. The house is damp and built with lath and plaster; the rent is 9l. a-year, with land. The “grandfather” is tenant: nine persons sleep in this cottage in two rooms, with only two beds. Five had fever; but they are all recovering: relief has not been asked, but the family appear to be poor.

No. 12. Head of the family a blacksmith in good circumstances, rent 7l. with a small garden; the house is deep, and in bad condition. Eleven persons sleep in four beds-rooms, which are wretched apartments with barely room for beds. Six had the fever; they were attended by their “own doctor” and are recovering: close to the house is a farm-yard, in the worst possible state, with offal and heaps of putescent matter, well calculated to yield abundance of deleterious miasms.

No. 13 Head of the family a stocking-maker, earning about 7s. a-week; his house has a bad roof through which the rain comes in; he pays 1s. of weekly rent. Six person sleep in this cottage, in two rooms, with three beds. Three had the fever, and are now convalescent; close by the house, is a pigsty with much manure, offal, and garbage heaped together.

No. 14. Head of the family a labourer with 11s. of weekly earnings; the yearly rent of his cottage is 13s. Six persons sleep in it in two bed-rooms; one child had the fever, and is getting better under the care of the union medical officer. No parish assistance: a pig is kept close to the house with abundance of the usual sordid and unwholesome accompaniments.

No. 15. Head of the family is a servant to the clergyman of the parish, house good and dry, but the pigsty is too close to it, the rent is 8l. a-year, with two fields; no parish relief applied for; the family is comfortable; six persons sleep in this cottage, in three beds, in two sleeping-rooms. three had the fever, and are now convalescent.

No. 16. Head of the family a furnace man at high wages. The house in a very bad condition, from dampness and defective ventilation; the air in it so oppressive that we were obliged to hurry out of it; the rent is 9l, with land to keep a cow. Seven persons sleep here, in four beds, in three bed-rooms; in this cottage one person had fever and died.

No 17. Head of the family a stocking-maker; his house is good, but near it are heaps of decaying substances as manure. No relief required; ten persons sleep in this cottage, in three rooms, in four beds; four had the fever, and recovered.

No 18. Head of the family a stocking-maker; nine persons sleep in this house, in three beds in two sleeping-rooms; there were five cases of fever in this cottage, and one of them, a little boy died: petechial eruptions attended some of the cases. Parish relief was not asked for.

No 19 Head of the family an old soldier with a pension of 8s. a-week; his cottage is very wet, with the roof unfit to exclude the rain and weather; all round it are accumulations of putrescent substances; the rent is 26s. a-year; four persons sleep in this place, in two beds, in one sleeping-room; two of them, a lad of eighteen years, and mother, had fever, the former died. No parish relief.

No 20. Head of the family a labourer in the gas-yard wages 15s. per week; his cottage is situated in a hollow quite close to the brook, at the foot of a wet declivity; it is very damp, with a bad roof and altogether unfit to live in;  four persons sleep in two beds in one sleeping-place; the head of the family is very ill of fever at present. No application for parish relief.

Nos. 21 and 22. Heads of the families are stocking-makers, earning each about 7s. a-week; the houses stand low, and in a damp situation close to the brook; they have a pigsty and heaps of manure too near them; there has been a case of fever in each house; they are terminating favourably. This brook runs over a broad gravelly bottom having its waters loaded with refuse from the houses; it is shallow, and becomes narrowed in dry weather, leaving much of its channel covered with mud and other filthy depositions, ready to taint the atmosphere with “malaria” and pestilential vapours.

No. 23. Head of the family a labourer with weekly wages of 11s.; house very damp, the roof quite insufficient; there are heaps of manure close to it. The rent is 6d. a-week; four persons sleep in two beds, in separate rooms; there is one case of fever, with unfavourable appearances. No application for parish relief, but 6s weekly is received from a club.

No. 24. Head of the family a stocking-maker, and occasionally a labourer with weekly earnings about 7s.; house in good repair, three persons sleep in two beds in two different rooms; one, a girl, is now ill of fever; they receive relief from the union, of a quartern loaf, and 2s. a-week for the girl who is sick.

No. 25. A labourer, with a large family ; three cases of fever, no particulars.

No. 26. Head of the family a stocking-maker, who earns about 7s. a-week ; his cottage is in fair condition, with a piece of garden ground; the rent is 26s. a-year, four persons sleep in the house, in two beds, in two bed-rooms; two cases of fever have occurred, and one of them is still in progress.

No. 27. This cottage stands in a low, damp situation, close to the brook; there is much manure, refuse, and offensive matter near it. One of the inmates had fever: this case occurred in September, and was the first of the epidemic which appeared in the parish.

We were unable to undertake the inspection of ten other houses, in which 13 cases of fever had prevailed. Five cottages only escaped this severe visitation.

When we reflect attentively on the insalubrious position of the place; the abundance of animal and vegetable matter in progress of decomposition close to the cottages of the villagers; the bad state of the brooks, with morbific exhalations emitted from their margins, in dry weather; the large quantities of feculent water stagnating and evaporating on the adjacent meadows; the crowded state of the houses, and the great number of persons who sleep in the same room, and even in the same bed; we see evidence to justify us in concluding that, the epidemic fever of Breadsall was dependent on two sources for its origin and propagation; and these are, the habits and circumstances of the parishioners creating the predisposition to fever, and the profusion of malarian elements, implanting the essence or seeds of the disease and originating its development in deteriorated constitutions. In further support of this conclusion, we would mention the fact, that the fever did not show itself in a single farm-house, although the farmers and their servants must have had daily communications with the sufferers, or even visited their houses. On the strength of this fact also, and on that of others exhibited in the foregoing histories, we might, rest the opinion as at least probable, that the typhoid fever at Breadsall was not propagated by contagion.


England and Wales Census, 1841

England and Wales Census, 1851

England and Wales Census, 1861

England and Wales Census, 1871

England and Wales Census, 1881

England and Wales Census, 1891

England and Wales Census, 1901

England and Wales Census, 1911

Parish Records

England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1537-1918


Derbyshire parish registers. Marriages by Phillimore, W. P. W. (William Phillimore Watts), 1853-1913, ed; Blagg, Thomas Matthews, ed are available from the sites below.

FamilySearch Catalog


Census returns for Breadsall, 1841-1891

Church Records

Bishop’s transcripts for Breadsall, 1673-1871 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Breadsall (Derbyshire)

England, Derbyshire, Breadsall Methodist Church, church records, 1948-1985 Author: Derbyshire Record Office

England, Derbyshire, Breadsall, parish registers, 1914-1962 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Breadsall (Derbyshire); Derbyshire Record Office

Marriages at Breadsall, 1573-1837 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Breadsall (Derbyshire)

Parish registers for Breadsall, 1573-1964 Author: Church of England. Parish Church of Breadsall (Derbyshire)

Computer printout of Breadsall, Derby., Eng

Parish register printouts of Breadsall, Derby, England ; marriages, 1826-1832, 1836 Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department

Parish register printouts of Breadsall, Derbyshire, England, christenings, 1826-1871 Author: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Genealogical Department


England, Derbyshire, Breadsall, Breadsall C of E primary school, admission registers, 1906-1950 Author: Derbyshire Record Office

Records for England

Births and Baptism Records

England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

Great Britain, Births and Baptisms, 1571-1977

England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Marriage Records

England Marriages, 1538–1973

Great Britain Marriages, 1797-1988

England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

Death Records

England Death Records, 1998-2015

England Deaths and Burials, 1538-1991

Great Britain Deaths and Burials, 1778-1988

England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

England and Wales, National Index of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1957

England and Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1640-1660

Non-Conformist Records

England and Wales Non-Conformist Record Indexes (RG4-8), 1588-1977


United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941

War and Conflict

Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935

United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners’ Service Records, 1760-1913

United Kingdom, Royal Hospital Chelsea: Discharge Documents of Pensioners 1760-1887 (WO 122)

United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933

United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915

United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920

United Kingdom, World War I Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920

Newspaper Archives

British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices

British Newspaper Archives, Obituaries


  • County: Derbyshire
  • Civil Registration District: Shardlow
  • Probate Court: Court of the Bishop of Lichfield (Episcopal Consistory)
  • Diocese: Lichfield
  • Rural Deanery: Duffield
  • Poor Law Union: Shardlow
  • Hundred: Appletree
  • Province: Canterbury

Similar Posts