Glapwell Hall was a rather rambling stone house of later seventeenth century date, made more rambling by Georgian and Victorian additions, producing, as one former owner put it, ‘a house of comfort rather than conformity’. The rooves were a right jumble from above. It was built of coursed rubble with Permian magnesian Limestone/coal measures sandstone dressings, the earliest part being the west front, latterly stuccoed. This front consisted of two storeys with attics under three coped gables with ball finials, the wide centre one embracing all three bays of the seven bay façade, which was essentially flat.
Whilst it no doubt originally had mullioned attic windows and mullion-and-transom ‘cross’ windows below, by the time it came to be photographed the windows had been replaced with glazing bar sashes of later eighteenth century type in the flat stone surrounds, those on the ground floor having been dropped to terrace level in the regency period. The central entrance was crowned by a segmental pediment, and latterly served as the access to the gardens. The general appearance of this façade was not unlike that of Carnfield Hall at Alfreton, which hides a much earlier core, and indeed, this may have been the case at Glapwell, too.
The house was a double pile building, consisting of two parallel ranges, their ends facing north and south, the latter boasting a fine set of triple stacks with an original two light mullioned attic window below to show what the main front must have boasted originally. Below again a recessed reserve held a stone carved armorial shield with the arms of Hallowes, the family latterly most associated with the house.
To the SE angler of this was added a mid-Victorian two storey range which ran round to the east from a full height canted bay with round arched plate glass windows. To this was added a new single storey entrance range of two arched Serliana or Venetian windows, that on the right included the new entrance door, all beneath a balustraded parapet with further ball finials. This was top lit, forming a bright space which partly masqueraded, aided by aspidistras and exotic plants, as a conservatory. Here with stone was ashlared, too and led to a south facing conservatory to the right of the door. Rising two storeys beyond this was a range of Queen Anne date of two storeys under a steeply pitched roof with attics dormers behind a parapet, and of three bays of sashes to the east, but continuing across the north end of the original house for form a west wing (facing north-south). This was topped be a tiny cupola and bell, marking the presence of a former domestic chapel, the origins of which went back to the twelfth century.
There were extensive grounds including a small park, entered from the public road via a pair of Neo-Classical gate piers, today still surviving, listed grade two and supporting a pair of rather flimsy looking modern iron gates.
The site’s history is very ancient, a capital mansion there being known since the twelfth century, built by the descendants of Serlo de Pleasley, who held it as feudal under-tenant from Hubert fitz Ralph, Lord of Crich, one of a small number of Domesday tantants. Serlo’s grandson was Simon fitz Serlo de Pleasley, who left three sons. The eldest, Serlo de Pleasley III inherited an estate at Ashover, whilst the third son William came into the manorial estate of Pleasley. His second son, Hugh, came into the manor of Glapwell c. 1180, and took his surname from the place (surnames still being rather fluid at that date and still confined to the upper crust).
It was Hugh who probably built the first house on the site, and no doubt the domestic chapel, which needed re-roofing in c. 1260. The family continued there for two centuries, before in 1481 the heiress married into the family of Woolhouse, from whom it eventually passed to Samuel Hallowes of Dethick, by marriage with Elizabeth, daughter and sole heiress of Thomas Woolhouse of Glapwell. It was probably Thomas Woolhouse who built the earliest range, which was taxed in 1670 on nine hearths indicating that it was a house of relatively modest dimensions. His prosperity was, however, being increased by the discovery of coal on the estate.
Samuel Hallowes, who no doubt added the Queen Anne range (perhaps on the site of a much earlier range) and probably re-ordered the original façade too, was the grandson of a Derby woollen draper, Nathaniel Hallowes, of a family from Youlgreave originally. He was a Presbyterian, keen supporter of the republican side in the Civil War, and was elected MP for Derby in the Long Parliament (sounds familiar!) replacing the deposed Cavalier MP William Allestrey, and served as Mayor of Derby in 1657. He was also a keen prosecutor of delinquents, as Parliament called the defeated Royalists, and his activities in this respect earned him three landed estates. So notorious was he that at the Restoration his Cromwellian grant of arms was annulled, albeit re-granted to his descendants in 1766.
Nevertheless, his grandson was well endowed with property, to which the Glapwell estate no doubt made a happy addition. The family did well from exploiting their coal deposits, which doubtless explains the various additions. No doubt the domestic chapel was de-commissioned, although the land to the south of the house was always called Chapel Yard, as the family’s tradition for the knobblier forms of Anglicanism continued. Samuel’s eldest son, Thomas married well, his bride being Lady Catherine Brabazon, daughter of Chambré, 5th Earl of Meath, by a daughter of Viscount Chaworth, a Nottinghamshire grandee also boasting an Irish peerage.
In 1861, Capt. Francis Hallowes, RN, inherited the estate from a cousin and, coming ashore, decided to make alterations. He it was who added the canted bay, the new entrance hall and the conservatory, probably to designs by the Derby partnership of William Giles and John Brookhouse, who were building a new house in Ashover for one of his cousins; it is all very much in their style. The consequence of moving the entrance from the west to the east was that much interior re-modelling was required. The estate then ran to 2,852 acres, including Glapwell colliery, then going full blast.
His son, Brabazon Hallowes was vicar of Dyserth, Flintshire, and his son Thomas Richard Francis Brabazon on inheriting in 1892, decided to retire to Cadenham Manor, Hants. and let the house to one of the Barnes’s of Ashgate (now Lords Gorell). After the Great War it was again let, this time to William Birkenhead Mather-Jackson (1865-1934), husband of one of Thomas’s sisters, and a member of the Butterley company family of Jackson who had Stubben Edge Hall in Ashover. He was succeeded by Christopher, his second and eldest surviving son, who was appointed to the local bench in 1939, and was a director of the Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Company (which enterprise by this time included Glapwell Colliery) and the Yorkshire amalgamated collieries. He was High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1951, but had moved back to Stubben Edge by 1956 having inherited the family baronetcy, dying in 1976.
Another Hallowes relation Benedict Hunt, who lived there briefly after the Jacksons, but the estate was ultimately broken up by sir Christopher Mather-Jackson 5th Bt. and sold. The house lay, increasingly derelict, for some time before being demolished in the later 1950s. Only the fine gate piers, the eighteenth century and apparently unlisted stable block survive. A listed (grade II) summerhouse stood, classed as at serious risk in 1980, but seems to have vanished. Yet the old village remains, still relatively sequestered and attractive.