The Jacobites in Smalley
Few people would readily associate the village of Smalley, situated about two miles
west of Heanor, with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 -
During the winter of 1745, Charles Edward Stuart, the "Bonnie Prince" or "The Young Pretender", marched south from Scotland. His troops reached Derby on 4 December, and looted the town, staying for two days before they commenced a fateful retreat as the Duke of Cumberland’s army approached.
While staying in Derby, or during the retreat, some of the Jacobites are said to have visited some of the nearby villages, including Smalley.
A history of the local aspects of this escapade was written in 1933 by L. Eardley-
"The presence of a party at Smalley is attested by several local traditions and relics.
Not long ago there were people living who remember to have seen at least a dozen
old pikes in a room adjoining the stables at Smalley Hall, and these were stated
to have been left by a party of Highlanders who came to exchange their ponies for
horses belonging to the then owner, Mrs Richardson; in 1907, one of these pikes still
remained. Another resident of Smalley had a claymore which was alleged to have been
found on Drumhill, Breadsall Moor, while the writer of the History of Smalley himself
(Reverend C. Kerry) had a magnificent Andrew Ferrara, with a guard of finely wrought
iron, engraved with two heads in Tudor helmets, of the same style, he states, as
the one left at Wingfield Manor, though why the outlying bands of Army should have
gone so far afield, he omits to mention. Smalley is also mentioned in another strange
story as to the origin of the family of Woolley of Collingham who attained more wealth
and a better position in the world than some of their relatives. The story is to
the effect that when the Scots who had visited Mrs Richardson’s stables were returning
to Derby, they fell in with one Woolley of Smalley, a coal carrier, and impressed
him with horse and cart for the conveyance of certain heavy baggage. On the retreat,
the party with Woolley was surprised by some of the Elector’s troopers (the Royal
army) who pursued the Scots, leaving Woolley to shift for himself. This he did, and,
his suspicion that the baggage he was carrying was part of the Prince’s treasure
turning out to be correct, he retired to Collingham, and spent the rest of his life
there in the enjoyment of his luckily acquired gains. Another story of a similar
sort was designed to explain the rise of the well-
A letter from Charles Kerry, dated 30 July 1903, narrates another strange twist to the tale. When the Highlanders turned up in Smalley, a large crowd, mainly women, gathered. "On a command in Gaelic, the regiment stooped, and throwing their kilts over their backs revealed to the astonished ladies and all what modesty is careful to conceal. Father, who told me, said they were not any more troubled with crowds of women."
The "Round House," Smalley, demolished in 1956 -
Folklore or fact? We are unlikely to know, but the Scottish artefacts in the Smalley area certainly suggest that some of the story is based on fact.
For a small village church, Smalley has a remarkably large bell-
This is to store its remarkably large bells!
In 1908, the Rev Charles Kerry, a native of Smalley, left in his will a bequest for a set of five bells which are in fact the heaviest chime of five bells in the whole of England. In order to house them, a new bell tower had to be added to the existing church of St. John the Baptist. The new bells and tower were dedicated on 26 September 1912.
The original church in Smalley was demolished in 1794, and a new building erected, but this too has been subject to numerous alterations over the centuries. However, a few Anglo Saxon remains have been found on the site, and are visible today, which suggests that the original church may have preceded the Norman conquest.