A web site for the village of Hartshorne,
Derbyshire, United Kingdom.

 
 

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Origins

First mention of the village

The earliest recorded mention of the village is in the Domesday Survey of 1086 where it is described as an Anglo-Saxon settlement. At this time it appears to have been a prosperous and thriving community.

This is perhaps borne out by the fact that it retained it's name throughout the Viking invasion when many Angle Saxon villages were given Viking names or prefixes. South Derbyshire was very heavily affected by the Danes since it has been estimated that as many as 5000 were quartered in and around Repton during 1873/74.

The name of Hartshorne

The village nestles below a sandstone ridge which reaches about 600 feet above sea level at it's highest point. It is from the shape of the ridge that the village is believed to get it's name. Viewed from certain angles, the hill is supposed to resemble the shape of a stag or harts head. This is not as seen from above as early settler did not have that ability but as seen from the lower parts of the village as one approached the area from Repton.

Certainly many Angle Saxon place names are derived from topographical features. Today it is difficult to see this feature in the landscape since trees have grown in the lower part of the village obscuring the view.

Another possible explanation of the name can be found in the dictionary definition of the word:

Westminster Dictionary, Hartshorn: The horn of the hart or deer. Salt of hartshorn an impure solid carbonate of ammonia.

New Standard Encyclopaedia, Hartshorn: Old name for liquid ammonia and carbonate of ammonia. These were prepared originally by the distillation of the horns of deer and other animals. The impure ammonia solution being known as spirit of Hartshorn and the carbonate as salt of hartshorn.

Was this process known in Angle Saxon times and if so what were the ammonia and carbonate used for? If the process was known at this time could it account for the importance and prosperity of the settlement and the fact it retained it's Angles Saxon name whilst other, less important places lost theirs?

This is a relatively recent conjecture of the name of origin of the name Hartshorn being credited to the medicinal use of the hart's horn. However, this occurred well after the name Hartshorn had been established and was in common use.

Research done by Newton Timothy Hartshorn, who spent many weeks in the house in the early 1880's, credits the origin of the Hartshorn family as being from German Saxony, coming to England circa 300 A.D. at the behest of the Angles in their defence against the Picts and Scots. This band or company of men had for their tribal emblem, or rallying standard, a deer (or hart's) horn fixed on a pole and the man who carried it came to be known as 'Hartshorn'.

The place or land granted to that tribe or family was called Hartshorn. The Saxon Hartshorn clan, with their assimilation to the Angles, became Anglo-Saxons. They never completely accepted the rule of the Norman conquerors. With little documentation of the era of that time it is difficult to place the Hartshorn's with the band of men today known as the 'Men of Green' and other descriptive terms given to the fanciful characters today known as the men of Robin Hood.

It is interesting to note that the characters of the Sherwood Forest are given credence by the British writer, Rev. Charles Henry Hartshorne in his book, Ancient Metrical Tales, written in 1829, in which he credits the story to an earlier book, British Biographer. The fact remains that those of Anglo-Saxon origin were never on close terms with the continental invaders and were discriminated against for centuries. Newton Hartshorn was firmly convinced, after living in the Ivanhoe House for several years, that the Hartshorn's were kith and kin with Locksley and the other popular characters of Sherwood Forest.

The most probably derivation of the name is from the clan rallying standard, previously mentioned. It is thought that the original Germanic surname, Hirschorn, currently in usage today, had the same origin and may be the name they brought with them in 300 A.D.

The surname HARTSON is a derivation of HARTSHORN.

St Peters church

At the time of the Doomsday Survey, Hartshorne had two Manors both held by Aluric under Henry de Ferrets There is no mention of a church or priest at this time. The first record of a church at Hartshorne appears in the Episcopal Register of 1303.

During the reign of Henry III, Henry de Hartshorne and Richard de Hartshorne each held half a Knights fee in the parish under Robert de Ferrers. By the last quarter of the fifteenth century both manors were in the hands of the Earl of Shrewsbury.

A village in two parts

The division of the hundred of Hartshorne into two manors accounts for the fact that today the village looks as though it has been two separate settlements with the village green being a long way ( at the corner of Brook Street and Repton Road ) from the church and manor house. Even today the locals refer to the area around the church and manor house as 'uptown' and the village green area as 'lower town'.

Hartshorn families in the United States

(This text is taken from the work of Derick Hartshorn in the US. See his brilliant web site on the Hartshorn name)

The first immigrant ancestor to the US, from whom the largest line of Hartshorns (sans 'e') are descended was Thomas, a devout Separatist (or "Nonconformist" as many were labeled).

It was claimed in early texts that he was from Reading, in the county of Berkshire. The fact that he settled in Reading, Massachusetts is possibly the basis for this claim. While he was an early settler there, he can not be claimed as the founder. There is nothing to substiate this origin. His history and that of his descendants is not overly dramatic, but sometimes quite colorful.

The generations from Thomas have provided officers and men in every war America has fought. Statistically, a high percentage of Hartshorns were well educated and held many offices in industry, education, and public trust. While many were farmers and business leaders, others were gifted with mechanical ability. Gravestones were carved and bridges were built by colonial Hartshorns. They devised the auger, buzz saw, window roller shade, chain and sprocket drive, fire hose coupling and many other inventions and processes.

A dozen or more Hartshorns appear to have emigrated to America between the 17th and 19th centuries. Many names appear in lists of emigrants and some do not reappear.

Don't forget to visit Derick Hartshorn's web site. Derick runs a site dedivcated to research on the name 'Hartshorn'.

Source: Hartshorne Then and Now: A pictorial history of the village, Complied by Brian Robinson, Published by Hartshorne Parish Council, 2000, p 5-6

Source: Hartshorn Genealogy, http://homepages.rootsweb.com/%7Ehartshrn/index.htm by Derick S. Hartshorn, United States.

 

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