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A page from the 18th century account book for Radbourne Hall – £2700 at Bamfords.

It covers the period 1741-42 when one Francis Webb was the steward to German Pole (b.1687). The Grade I house that currently stands on the site was under construction.

The manuscript comprises 146 ink receipts that together encapsulate the life of the Derbyshire gentry during the reign of George II. Much of the first part are receipts signed by pub landlords for the provision of food and drink for voters in the 1741 general election, in which Pole, a Jacobite, stood in the Tory interest. It seems he expended £183 11s 6d in some 20 hostelries – and to little avail.

According to contemporary accounts, Pole had been expected to win, but after the mayor and chamberlains arbitrarily ordered the polls to close at lunchtime, many from out of town were not able to cast their votes and the seat fell to the Whigs. The payments reveal three hitherto unknown Derby inns: the Count Tarlow, the Weavers Arms and the Welsh Harp.

Pole engaged the architect William Smith the Younger to build Radbourne Hall, c.1741-43. Throughout the book are receipted payments to craftsmen and suppliers of materials relating to the building, including two (for a total of £55) to Derby master stuccoer Abraham Denstone the elder and three (total £13 17s) to Anthony Richardson of behalf of the joiner George Eborall, one of Smith’s regular craftsmen. Other notes include the purchase of a pair of ‘mahogany round tables’ priced at £1 7s from John Trimmer, a notable Derby cabinet maker, and £4 to John Whitehurst of Derby for a bracket clock.

Such a rich source of local history – that firmly dates the building of the present hall as 1741-43 – looked undercooked at the £100-150 estimate and so it proved when it sold at £2700 (plus 21% buyer’s premium) at the auction on October 29.

The Manor of Radbourne is one of the few UK landed estates that has passed only by inheritance since the Norman conquest.