Norbury is a scattered community situated about 14 miles west of Derby off the B5033 road, occupying a beautiful position on the river Dove. Norbury appears in Domesday as Norberre or Nordberie, the 'norther' defence on the Dove, while Sudbury was to the south.
Norbury church, dedicated to St Mary and St Barlok, an outstanding building by any reckoning is tucked away out of sight. The fairly small, aisled nave, mostly of the C15, has the tower over the middle bay of its south aisle, thus giving the nave an unusually symmetrical side facade when viewed from the churchyard. East of this, and marginally longer though without aisles, is the magnificently lofty C14 chancel with four large windows each side, all containing mostly 14th and 15th century glass. Together with the great east window this chancel has been described as "a lantern in stone". Within the chancel lie the C15 tombs of the Fitzherbert family. It had been Nicholas Fitzherbert who built the south tower, nave and chapel east of the tower. He died in 1473. The north aisle was added by his son Ralph who died in 1483 and grandson John started work on the south west chapel, which was completed in 1517 after his death. The church contains registers dating from 1686.
The Manor House was built of stone in the mid 13th century for William Fitzherbert and enlarged around 1300 by Sir Henry Fitzherbert. It still has many original features including the undercroft with the hall above on the upper floor, all still intact. There are also some Tudor additions.
Nicholas Fitzherbert acquired the freehold of the property in 1448 and the house was enlarged by his son Ralph, who built a Tudor Hall onto the Manor House and at right angles to it, at the end of the 15th century. This Hall was rebuilt in brick around 1680 retaining much of the Tudor panelling and stained glass.
Sir Thomas Fitzherbert married Anne Eyre, the heiress of Padley Manor, in the mid 16th century. They moved to Padley on her fatherís death and Norbury fell into disuse. Sir John Fitzherbert supported the Royalist cause during the Civil War and was killed at Lichfield in 1649. His son William inherited Norbury in a ruinous state. Swynnerton Hall, in Staffordshire, also became his by marriage but had been badly damaged during the Civil War. With the choice of two possible homes he first decided to repair Norbury Hall. Williamís son Basil Fitzherbert rebuilt Swynnerton and took up residence there and then continued the rebuild of Norbury as a lesser seat.
It is famous for it's connection with George Eliot, who's father Robert Evans, was born on Roston Common, attended a local school and sang in the choir at Norbury church. Members of the Evans family, grandfather, grandmother and aunt( George, Mary and Susannah) are buried in Norbury chuchyard.
Today Norbury is owned by The National Trust. It is open to the public by written appointment only with the tenant Mr C Wright from April to September on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Norbury mill was mentioned in Domesday and flour was ground here until 1890. It was used as a builders yard then a saw mill before falling into ruins.
The resident population of Norbury parish in mid 1998 was 1800 people, 3 per cent of the population of Derbyshire Dales local authority. 18 percent of Norburyís population in mid 1998 were aged under 16, 60 per cent were aged between 16 and 59 and 22 per cent were aged 60 and over.