This document( from our Dad’s father or grandfather ), explains how the Eyre family was granted land in Derbyshire . It is of interest that Colonel Eyre of Hassop died in 1672/1674 and was also a stock farmer in the district. This document represents a grant of land to his son, Thomas Eyre.
See below a history of the Eyres in Derbyshire.
Another link that details the different Eyres
This may be the lineage of the eyre family from our Thomas Eyre
In spite of all the pierage information supplied to us by Thomas Eyre this is as far as we believe we have tree wise for Thomas Eyre. Connecting the dots between William Eyre of Bamford and the rest is trickey.
The Legend has it that the founder of the common ancestor of the Eyres, came over to England with William the Conquerer, was present at the Battle of Hastings, where he lost a leg; and, as a reward for his services, William directed him to adopt the couped thigh for his crest, and granted him lands at Hope, in the county of Derby.
High Peak Forest:
Now a village in the hills of the White Peak, the Peak Forest takes its name from the Royal Forest of the Peak which once covered 180 sq. miles. ( It was a royal hunting preserve). For 800 years the Eyres had been connected with the High Peak Forest. The Eyres will be long remembered as kind and considerate Landlords.
13th and 14th centuries:
Eyre Sergenties of the forest were noted as early as 1285.”The Receiver” was the principal civil officer of the Forest. It was his duty to receive all the rents and fines due to the King. This office was enjoyed for several generations by members of the great family of Eyre. “Foresters of Fee” were tenants who held land to themselves and their heirs by the service of guarding the King’s forest – they were the original landed gentry for the forest. Their office was hereditary and during Edward 2nd’s reign,(1307-1327) there were officers : Nicholas Eyre of Hope and Arthur Eyre.
Robert Eyre who founded the Padley branch of the Eyre family, from which descended other branches at Highlow, Hassop and Home Hall. From his third son, William , descended the Eyres of North Lees.. from where our Thomas Eyre came, as far as we know.
In 1674 the forest was cleared( By Charles 2nd), and the remaining deer killed. Much of the forest had been cleared prior due to timber harvesting and lead mining and smelting. (It is known that the Eyre family was involved in lead mining.) In 1674 Thomas Eyre was granted to 8,000 acres of the Forest. ( The freeholders and tenants received an equal amount of land ). Thomas Eyre rent or sold much of his land, right up until 1717 when he died, ( to raise money from litigations with the commoners.) Once Charles 2nd cleared the forest, it was lost forever.
The Eyres in the Peak District made their fortunes from the Lead resources of the High Peak, and it ensured the survival of the more prominent royalists. The Eyres also had millstone quarries at Yarncliff ( Padley).
16th and 17th Centuries:Catholic vs. Anglican.
Most , if not all of the Eyres were steady adherents to the Catholic faith. This subjected them to persecution. They suffered fines and confiscations for recusancy and harbouring priests.
1634: The Eyres were Catholics and were Recusants, about 32 % were the Eyres of Hathersage.( During the reign of Elizabeth 1, these recusants were those that refused to attend Anglican church ). Full catholic emancipation did not occur until the 18th century. The Eyres suffered fines and imprisonment by being recusants. ( There are/were ruins of an ancient catholic chapel at North Lees where Thomas Eyre’s family lived. This remains as a monument and evidence of the intolerant and persecuting spirit of the period).
The Eyre Lands:
It is noted in ( Reliquary volume X 1870) that over the centuries the Eyres of Rowter, Highlow, and Hassop ( the three main branches) had extensive possessions , upwards of twenty thousand acres. Between 1800 and 1870 any land remaining had been sold or passed by marriage into other families, and not a single acre was left!
Our Thomas Eyre was descended , according to the records, from William Eyre of Yorkshire Bridge, Bamford. ( Linen weaver who died in 1717). William Eyre married Jane Brownhill in1704 and had a son Thomas who was born in 1715. This Thomas Eyre married in 1752 to Ann Frith and became a servant at North Lees for Henry Brownhill, and Thomas later became a tenant at North Lees.
William Eyre also had an elder son, George, born in 1704/5, he was a tenant at a farm at Bamford – 27 acres and also kep the Yorkshire Bridge Inn when his father William died – in the 1750s. ( Bamford is approx. 2 1/2 miles NW of Hathersage).
It is supposedly that rather being a descendant of George Eyre as our great grandfather suggests, our Thomas Eyre was a descendent of Thomas Eyre who married Ann Frith. From that marriage, William Eyre, born 1751/3 at North Lees, married Mary and had a son our Thomas Eyre b.1793.
The Eyre Chapel :
At Newbold in Chesterfield, stands the Eyre Chapel, built by the Normans in the 11th century , and reputedly the oldest building in town. Worship ceased here almost 400 years ago, and it was sued as a burial place for members of the Eyre Family.The chapel takes its name from the Eyre family who bought the manor of Newbold in 1570. The chapel fell into dereliction after the revolution of 1688 when James 2nd was overthrown by his daughter Mary and her dutch husband William. The Eyres renovated the chapel in the 1850’s after the Catholic emancipation Act was passed. The Chapel was finally restored by the Chesterfield Civic Society and now is a listed building.