In Oakwell Fields, Oak Well Farm House was occupied by the Marshall family.
This was 10 Derby Road — just before the Miners’ Arms at the corner of Belper Street and Derby Road — bordered by a grass verge while a green hedge served as a fence behind. Its front faced the south/south-west while its back was to Derby Road.
In 1861 the farm was occupied by Isaac Attenborough and his family. It is reputed that he was born at the Sir John Warren in 1790, the son of Isaac senior and Jane (nee Pearson) and younger brother of Mark Attenborough.
Following his death on April 22nd 1862 the farm premises and all the goods and stock contained in it were sold.
Now Robert Evans, born in Ellastone, Staffordshire in March 1802 but baptised at Kirk Hallam All Saints Church in October of that same year, was the elder child of Robert senior and his first wife Harriet (nee Poynton). There was one other child — daughter Frances Lucy Evans, born in 1805 — before Harriet Evans died in 1809 (?)
Four years later — in February 1813 — Robert senior married his second wife, Christiana Pearson (daughter of Isaac and Ann (nee Baker)?) and five more children followed. The two youngest, twins William and Thomas, died in infancy in 1821. The other children survived into adulthood.
Of the three surviving children …
.. the eldest was Christiana Evans (1814-1859) who married surgeon/general practitioner Edward Clarke in 1837. The couple then lived in Meriden, Warwickshire, where their children were born and where Christiana died.
… the only son, Isaac Pearson Evans (1816-1890) seems to have lived his life at Griff House near Chilvers Coton, Warwickshire, as a farmer and land agent, raising a family with his wife Sarah (nee Rawlins).
… which leaves the remaining child of Robert and Christiana Evans — Mary Ann Evans, born on November 22nd 1819 and baptised a week later at Chilvers Coton.
When her ‘formal’ education ended at the age of 16, Mary Ann lived with her father as housekeeper until his death in 1849. By that time she had been exposed to new influences through her expanding circle of friends some of whom championed philanthropic causes, challenged established religious thought and caused Mary Ann to question her own beliefs. She had already begun to write … newspaper articles, reviews and translations …
…. and this led to Mary Ann turning to the writing of short stories and then novels, under the name of George Eliot (adopted about 1857). Of course her life and achievements have been well-documented .. even to some extent in the Ilkeston Advertiser.
In 1867 the Oakwell premises were occupied by William Sudbury, farmer and butcher, the eldest son of hosier and glover Francis and Ann (nee Mather) and brother of Ilkeston’s first mayor.
In the 1870’s many of the farm’s old buildings were pulled down – with the exception of the farm house and a barn at its side. New ones replaced them.
William remained there until his death in 1891.
His eldest child Arthur William and family were at the farm for a few years thereafter.
By about 1896 it was occupied by the Marshalls — Robert and Ann (nee Bentley) whom we shall meet in White Lion Square.
This brings us to Belper Street.