South Wingfield is a Derbyshire village situated 2 miles west of Alfreton. It dates back to pre Norman times when it was known as Winefield. The first Norman lord of the manor was Robert de Heriz whose family later built the first church here, called Linbery chapel, in the 12th century. A chapel of ease also once existed just north of the site of the present Peacock Inn.
By 1440 Ralph Lord Cromwell of Tattershall, Lord Treasurer of England was granted lordship of Wingfield and started to build Wingfield Manor, it becoming one of the finest baronial halls of the period. Before his death in 1445 it was sold to John Talbot the 2nd Earl of Shrewsbury. The 6th Earl was given custody of Mary Queen of Scots who was imprisoned in the manor on several occasions. The manor house eventually fell into ruins but was purchased by one Immanuel Halton, who rebuilt apart of it, finding it useful for his 'hobby' of astronomy. He was a friend of John Flamstead who became the first Astronomer Royal.
Though still a ruin, the house is now owned by English Heritage and open to the public at certain times of the year. Visitors can enjoy walking through the late Gothic Great Hall and exploring its superb vaulted undercroft, and enjoy the supurb views.
Wingfield manor has been used as the set for scenes from Peak Practice and Zefferelli's Jane Eyre.
South Wingfield parish church of All Saints is some way east of the village and dates from the 13th century. Cromwell at the same time as building the hall, restored the church almost completely, rebuilding the tower but preserving the 13th century nave arcades which still survive.
Wingfield lies on the edge of a coalfield and several small mining operations existed in the Oakerthorpe area at the end of the 19th century. All were superceded by the much larger Wingfield Colliery run by the Clay Cross Company. Village life was dominated by this colliery. If it prospered everyone prospered. If it suffered an economic turndown, everyone suffered.
There is a village school, built in 1875 in Church Lane, shops and several pubs including the Peacock at Oakerthorpe and the Yew Tree Inn in the village itself.
Photos of Wingfield Manor at Derbyshire Photographs