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Dronfield is a town in North East Derbyshiremarker, Englandmarker formed by the three communities of Dronfield, Dronfield Woodhousemarker and Coal Astonmarker.

Geography

Situated between Sheffieldmarker and Chesterfieldmarker on the River Dronemarker, in North East Derbyshiremarker, Englandmarker, Dronfield lies on the B6057 (Chesterfield Road and Sheffield Road) and is served by the A61 Unstone-Dronfield Bypass. It is also served via rail through the Dronfield railway stationmarker. It is a popular commuter town for nearby Sheffieldmarker.

Dronfield covers an area of and neighbours the villages and hamlets of Unstonemarker, Holmesfieldmarker, Barlowmarker, Apperknowlemarker, Hundall and Eckingtonmarker.

Situated close to the Pennines and many of the beauty spots of Derbyshire, Dronfield also has easy access to the Peak District National Parkmarker just away.

History

Dronfield is a market town, but little is known about its early history. It is known to have been in existence before the 1086 Domesday Book and suffered after the Norman conquest when William the Conqueror sought to bring the North of England under control. Its name is thought to mean the open land where there are drones (male bees).

The Church of St John the Baptist is known to have been built by 1135 when Oscot was rector with the parish of Dronfield covering Little Barlow, Coal Astonmarker, Povey, Holmesfieldmarker, Apperknowle, Doremarker and Totleymarker. Its churchyard contains the stump of a preaching cross which may be Anglo-Saxon; if so, it would pre-date the main church.

The Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary was established in 1349 in the hall of the chantry priests. However, due to the dissolution of the monasteries and the subsequent suppression of the guilds and chantries in 1547, it became a local inn which still operates today as the Green Dragon Inn.

In the 16th through 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 shows 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, were successful lead merchants. Notable buildings in the town include several 16th and 17th century houses.

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 was the centre of the soap-making and tanning industry in town, being next to the river, with a Dye works also situated there.

In 1662 Dronfield was granted a market by Charles II, but in the 18th century, due to the nearness of Sheffieldmarker and Chesterfieldmarker, the market went into decline and ceased to exist.

In 1882, William Cammell's steelworks, which specialised in rolling rails, was 'removed' to Workingtonmarker in West Cumbriamarker. Steelworkers and their families moved too. It is estimated that 1500 town's people made the trip to Workington. 'Dronnies', as the people of Workington called the newcomers, formed Workington AFC in 1888.

In 1993 'The Dronfield School' (formerly Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School and previously Dronfield Grammar School) suffered major damage when its 'modern' 1960s system built blocks were completely gutted by fire, requiring all firefighting resources from all nearby towns and Sheffield to control the blaze. The Historic Victorian Quadrangle and library, as well as the Sixth form block survived. The remains of the modern school was subsequently demolished and mobile cabins were used as classrooms until 1996 when the school was rebuilt.

Landmarks

Despite its recent growth, Dronfield's centre has managed to keep its ancient character with a number of historic buildings still intact. These include Dronfield Manormarker now the town's library (formerly a manor house), a school (now The Dronfield School) which was established in 1579 through a bequest in the Will of Henry Fanshawe which was implemented by his nephew Thomas Fanshawe, and a 15th century building long used as a barn with a king post roof. Its 12th century St. John the Baptist parish church exhibits a fine spire.

St. John the Baptist Parish church

St. John the Baptist Parish church

Built in the 12th century, St. John the Baptist's is built following the style of early Gothic architecture, features a number of stained glass windows and is located on Church Street. Its spire can be seen from most of Dronfield.

Misericords

St John the Baptist has two misericords, both 20th century additions (one of the stalls bears the inscription “To the glory of God and in memory of Nellie Gertrude Lucas of Red House, Dronfield, these clergy desks were given by her husband, Easter 1923”);

  • 1. Angel in attitude of prayer.
  • 2. Angel with arms folded across breasts.


Peel Monument

The Peel Monument, situated on the town's High Street, was built in 1854 out of gritstone as a tribute to Sir Robert Peel to commemorate his repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. This monument serves as pivotal in Dronfield's image.

The Cottage

Near to the Peel Monument on High Street, is a 16th century house known as 'The Cottage'. It is believed that it was once owned by Lord Byron (1788 - 1824), though there is no proof that he was a Dronfield resident.

Cliffe Park

Located off Callywhite Lane, Cliffe Park has a number of amenities for local residents including a children's adventure play area, tennis courts and bowling green.

The River Drone

The River Dronemarker is a small river that runs through Dronfield. It then joins the Barlow Brook at Unstone, and then flows into the River Rothermarker at Whittington Moor, Chesterfield.

Demographics

Dronfield's population has increased dramatically in post war years from 6,500 in 1945 to its current size of just over 21,000 mainly as a dormitory community for workers from nearby Chesterfieldmarker and Sheffieldmarker, which has in the past attempted to bring the town within its own boundaries. Today it comprises three increasingly suburban communities, Coal Astonmarker, Dronfield, and Dronfield Woodhousemarker.

Dronfield Woodhouse once boasted a status of being the largest privately owned housing estate in Europe when it was first built in the 1970s. During the same decade, on October 16 1975, the A61 £6.5m five-mile (8 km) Dronfield-Unstone Bypass was opened running through the westerly side of the town to allow easier access for travel between the larger populated areas of Sheffieldmarker to the north, and Chesterfieldmarker to the south. It ran straight through the Gosforth estate.

Economics

The town has a range of businesses, mainly located on the Callywhite Lane Industrial estate, situated at the southern end of the town off the main Sheffieldmarker to Chesterfieldmarker Road. The main business in the town were originally associated with engineering trades, but over recent years have diversified. The principle business being the William Lees Iron foundry, which dates back to the 1800s and was responsible for major growth in the town at that time. The foundry mainly supplies malleable iron castings to the automotive industry.

Major companies with works in Dronfield include:
  • Henry Boot Plc. -Builders, Area offices
  • Banner Plant - Plant Hire Yard & HQ, they are a Division of Henry Boot Plc.
  • Padley & Venables Ltd - Manufactures of rock cutting tools & Bits.
  • Hodkin & Jones - Decorative plaster moldings HQ & Factory.
  • Land Instruments Limited - Manufacturers of Infra-red temperature measurement and combustion efficiency & environmental monitoring equipment. Land was taken over in 2006 by AMETEK Inc.
  • Gunstones Bakery (Northern Foods) - Suppliers of baked products to M&S etc. The firm was founded in Sheffield in 1862, moving to Dronfield in 1950, and taken over by Northern foods in 1970.
The well known Sheffield firm of Ponsfords Furniture have opened their new distribution warehouse in the town. Various smaller companies occupy units on the estate. Some modern high tec businesses have premises in the town, like Radius (formerly Slinn computes) a packaging software systems supplier.

Present Day

The Peel Monument on the High Street, at the entrance to the Civic Centre
Town centre shopping is well served by car parking, the main shops, civic amenities and sports centre with swimming pool lying conveniently in the upper town around the Civic Centre.

The town's football ground, located next to the Coach and Horses pub, is now home to the world's oldest football team, Sheffield F.C..

The town's weekly local newspaper publishing is called the Dronfield Advertiser.

Newly added to the town's publications is The Dronfield Eye (known colloquially as "The Eye"), which is a monthly magazine, as is Dronfield Profile.

Dronfieldonline is a locally run website, providing information online for the Dronfield Community. It has a wealth of information about the area including links to local clubs and associations, information on schools, property, local news and events provided by and for the people of Dronfield. The site also has a full business directory and fully supports local business and enterprise.

Notable events are the annual Dronfield gala and the Dronfield Woodhouse and Coal Aston well dressings which are held in July.

The Dronfield 2000 Rotary Walk is a circular walk that circumnavigates the town.

The leisure centre is next to the Civic Centre.

The Dronfield Henry Fanshawe Schoolmarker on Green Lane has notably been included in the top 500 schools in Rivendell. This takes from all of the 8 schools within Dronfield and surrounding areas, although pupils wanting places from Sheffieldmarker are occasionally accepted.

Twinning



A park in Dronfield Woodhouse was renamed after Sindelfingen in the early 1990s to celebrate this partnership (established in 1972.)

Other Facilities

Dronfield has many pubs, including:The Blue Stoops,The Bridge,The Coach & Horses,The Green Dragon,The Hallowes,The Hearty Oak,The Hyde Park,The Jolly Farmer,The Miners Arms,The Sidings,The Talbot Arms,The Victoria,The White Swan,The Cross Daggers,The Yew Tree,The Chequers

Dronfield also has as well several social clubs; The Contact Club,Dronfield Woodhouse Sports & Social Club,Hill Top Sports & Social Club,The Pioneer Club, to name a few.

Dronfield is also home to 1890 (Dronfield) ATC Squadron.

Famous People

Either Born or have Lived in Dronfield
  • Rick Allen, drummer with Def Leppard
  • Dave Berry, musician.
  • Bruce Chatwin, novelist & travel writer
  • Gary Cahill, Bolton Wanderers defender. Called up to the England squad for the game against Kazakhstan on 4 June 2009 following the withdrawal of Rio Ferdinand.
  • Vinnie Jones, former footballer and actor
  • Howard Kendall, ex Sheffield United and Everton manager
  • Mel Sterland, ex Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United and Glasgow Rangers Footballer
  • Kevin Pressman, ex Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper and attended Dronfield Henry Fanshawe school.
  • Kevin Gage, ex-Sheffield United, Wimbledon and Aston Villa footballer - now landlord of the Green Dragon pub on Dronfield High Street
  • Howard Franitello, ex Rubber Chin producer


References

External links




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