Morley village in Derbyshire, is approximately 5 miles north east of Derby on the Derby to Heanor road. It is essentially a rural area with working farms. Morley is comprised of 4 settlements, Brackley Gate and the Croft, the Smithy and Brick Kiln Lane, Almshouse Lane and the Church Lane area.
Brackley Gates elevated position offers marvellous views to the north of the county. It contains some disused quarries which were once a source of work for local men, until 1917 when they were closed down. The area is now a wildlife reserve, managed by the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. The Croft contains a cluster of 17th and 18th century cottages. The 17th century almshouses in Almshouse Lane were originally intended for` 6 poor, lame or impotent men` and were built with money provide by Jacinth Sitwell, then Lord of the Manor of Morley.
The Smithy is now the Three Horse Shoes pub, and Church Lane was probably the original centre of Morley, where the Lords of the Manor of Morley, lived. The original hall no longer exists.
The greatest point of interest in Morley has to be the Parish Church of St Matthew, which contains one of the finest displays of late medieval glass in the country, and an impressive collection of medieval monuments. The church has a Norman nave, with the tower, chancel and north chapel being late 14th, early 15th century. There are monuments and brasses to important local families like the Sacheverals and the Sitwells, and include those of John Sacheverell, who died at Bosworth Field in 1485 and the beautifully carved tomb chest, with its recumbent effigy and kneeling figures, of Henry Sacheverell. who died in 1558 and his beautiful wife Katherine Babington. Much of the stained glass came from Dale Abbey at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. Much of the glass was restored and added to in 1847.
Close to the church, on the route of the Roman Portway, is a strange, moated hump about 20 feet high. Opinions differ as to it's purpose. Some believe it was a defensive mount, others a look out post.
Behind the church stands the tithe barn, which was once a regular venue for village festivities, which included, harvest suppers, drama productions and dances.
Just south of the village is Broomfield Hall, which houses the Derbyshire Agricultural College, and Breadsall Priory, a hotel with a golf course of national fame. The priory was once the home of Erasmus Darwin, philosopher, physician, poet and grandfather to Charles Darwin.
Morley Manor was built in 1896 though it's Jacobean good looks and unusual red colour (arising from the Cheshire Sandstone) disguise it's relative youthfulness. The Manor house was only sold a few years ago after being occupied since the mid 1950's by Barnardo's, who first used it as a nursery and later as a home for mentally ill and disabled adults.