The Square and Compass at Darley Bridge:
One of the most important crossings of the river Derwent was at Darley Bridge, which was once on a packhorse route. Darley Bridge still has two of the original pointed arches, both ribbed. A reference to this bridge appears in 1504, again in 1666 and in 1682 when mention of seven arches is made. So it is possible two arches may be hidden beneath the present approaches. Not far to the north of the bridge is Church Lane; in 1635 it was known as Ghost Lane after a Scottish pedlar was murdered there. The name "The Square and Compasses" or, more correctly, a square and a set of compasses joined together is the single most identifiable symbol of freemasonry; both are architects tools, and are used in Masonic ritual. The earliest reference to the Square and Compass appears in 1735 when Robert Clayton built the earliest part of this building on his marriage to Elizabeth Sherwyn at Darley Dale Church on the 30th Oct 1735. A date stone with his initials R.C.1735 can be seen on the façade of the pub building.
Sadly Roberts's wife died soon after. He then married Sarah Yates at the same church on 15th December 1737. One of their children was also called Robert Clayton; he married Helen Knowles on 30th December 1773 and, to commemorate this event, his initials R.C. 1773 can be seen further down the pub's building; also a brew house and stables were attached to the smithy. This was when the Square and Compass was on a turnpike road that would lead to Chesterfield. The tollhouse was situated on the opposite side of the road near the end of what is now the car park. This road would eventually link to the Newhaven to Nottingham turnpike; another made its way to Bakewell.
Another interesting stone linked with the façade of the Square and Compass is the boundary stone of the Urban District of North Darley and South Darley these districts were recorded between 1639 and 1644, the stone is much later.
Robert Clayton is described as a blacksmith, wheelwright and innkeeper at the Square and Compass in 1822 and 1835, although in 1841 his occupation is that of a wheelwright like his son Benjamin. He lived at the inn with his wife Mary and daughter Hannah. The end cottage belonged to the blacksmith. In 1849 the railway came through Darley as far as Rowsley. By 1851 his wife had died and he and Ben were both listed as carpenters. Robert Clayton died here in 1853 age 72. His other son also called Robert succeeded him, he had married Martha Hannah Bampton at Darley Church on 26th December 1826, and he is described at the Square and Compass in 1861 as a tomb and headstone engraver, as well as an innkeeper.
By 1871 Richard and Emma Britland had taken over. Richard was also a joiner and cabinetmaker. The end cottage remained a blacksmiths run by George Bamford and his family. In 1881 Richard Britland was described as a joiner & builder and licensed victualler. With the arrival of the railway, the blacksmith had left and a stonecutter occupied the cottage. The inn was owned by Thomas Potter (1831-1888) a solicitor of Northfield House, Cheltenham, and later by his trustees. In 1891 Richard and Emma remained and their niece Sarah Ellen worked here.
On Saturday 23rd November 1895 the Square and Compass played host to the Darley Dale Cricket Club to celebrate the victory of victories when they won the Derbyshire challenge cup against Codnor United, the first silverware in their history since the club was founded in 1863. The cup was presented in the Whitworth grounds in the presence of 8000 people at the flower show. The club ground was owned by the late Sir Joseph Whitworth and Lady Whitworth who were both keen supporters having resided here since 1874 and having bought Stancliffe Hall 20 years earlier. Major Taylor of Bakewel,l the clubs president, presented medals to the winning team, then everybody sat down to a complimentary dinner at the inn, a great day in Darley's history. The account takes up nearly a full page in the High Peak News.
On New Years Eve 1899 Richard Britland was buried at Darley Dale Church, the local newspaper wrote: “The death of Mr Britland of the Square and Compass has lost a well known figure, well advanced in his years and still in business at the inn, he stuck to his post to the last, though at best a feeble old man.”. Henry Martin and his wife Mary Jane succeeded him, with their teenage daughter. The tollhouse and the adjacent cottage were still occupied at this period. During the 1920s and 1930s the Darley Band each Christmas Day played carols throughout the district, they then called at the Square and Compass. It was here that Henry regaled them with hot drinks and mince pies. The property was purchased by Tom Wright in 1921 from the Potters and leased to the Home Brewery, Nottingham. It was later owned by Alfred Herbert Smith of Darley Dale and in 1961 was purchased by Frederic Robinson Ltd, Unicorn Brewery, Stockport, and is now part of their estate.
Today the Square and Compass offers fine traditional ale, food, and accommodation to suit all your needs, with your hosts, Mike & Esme.
|1735 - 1789||Robert Clayton Snr.|
|1789 - 1790||Sarah Clayton|
|1790 - 1853||Robert Clayton Jnr.|
|1853 - 1870||Robert Clayton|
|1871 - 1899||Richard Britland|
|1899 - 1938||Henry Martin|
|1939 - 1958||George William Hodgkinson|
|1958 - 1961||Douglas Smith|
|1961 - 1966||John Darlington|
|1966 - 1968||William Williamson|
|1968 - 1974||Joseph Padzick|
|1974 - 1975||Jean Manai|
|1975 - 1980||Thomas Harold Arnold Emery|
|1980 - 1988||Jean Emery|
|1988 - 1990||Valerie Gilchrist|
|1990 - 2000||Mark Ronald Singleton|
|2000 - 2003||David J Lees & Janet|
|2003 - 2011||Michael D Page & Esme|
|2011 -||Alan W Atkin and Marion|