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Breed History - Historical Flocks

This page contains information on some of the breed Society's founding flocks and the families behind them . These historical flock profiles have been kindly compiled by Katherine Walsh.

Errwood Flock

The Errwood flock was founded by Thomas Bennett Hibbert, who was born on the 4th March 1874 in the Taxal area (he was baptised at Taxal Church on the 12 April). He was the second youngest child of John Hibbert (1830 – 1909) and his wife Ellen Hibbert (nee Bennett) (1833 – 1910).  He grew up at Bousal Farm, which by 1881 comprised of 140 acres, and once his formal schooling was complete he was employed on the family farm.  The family was still farming here at the time of the 1901 census, and his future bride, Martha Trueman, lived a short distance away at Goyt Bridge

During the summer of 1903 he married Martha Trueman, the sister of Charles Trueman who founded the TORGATE flock and William Arthur Trueman who founded the GOYTDALE flock.  They went on to have two children:

  • Joseph born in 1903 and died on 26th October 1989.

  • Frances Ellen born in 1904 and married John Hope Warren in October 1930 at Chapel-en-le-Frith. She died in 1978 in the West Midlands.


Thomas Bennett was one of the founding members of the society and although he did not have the largest of flocks.  In the first year of registrations he only registered 40 or so ewes, and by 1910 he had registered an additional 41 ewes.  His stock must have been well regarded as he sold ewes to the Crag, Sterndale and Tissington flocks and his rams were used in the Goytdale, Nabs, Hillhouse and Shiningtor flocks.  The quality of his stock is highlighted by the fact that Errwood Challenger was considered a Champion Ram, unfortunately it is not known what competition(s) he won.  Thomas was a judge as well as a competitor and he was the official at the 1931 Bakewell show when he awarded the prizes as follows:

Ram – 1 and 3 A Hinchcliffe (Sheffield), 2 F Clulow (Macclesfield),

Ram lamb 1 and 2 John Dixon (Meltham)


Thomas and his family were still living at Goyt Bridge at the time of the 1911 census, but by the time of his death aged 82 on the 19th March 1957 Thomas was living at Bradshaw Hall Farm, Chapel-en-le-Frith – his wife had died four years previously on the 8th May 1954.  When his estate was valued during probate it was £897 1s 8d, his executors were his son, Joseph who was described as being a farmer, and his daughter Frances Ellen Warren who was described as being a married woman.

Castle Flock

Although in the Derbyshire Gritstone Flock Stud Book he is listed is Henry Martin his full name at birth was Henry Oswald Earle Martin  His flock was only small with just 9 ewes being registered in 1910, all of which had been sired by his ram “Castle Duke” one of two rams that was registered in 1907 (the other was Castle King).   At the time of the 1910 flock book there are no records of his stock being included in other flocks.


Henry was born on the 18th June 1881 in the Chapel-en-le-Frith area and was the eldest child of James and Martha Martin (nee Lomas) who had been close neighbours at Chapel-en-le-Frith and had married only a short time before his birth.  At the time of their marriage Martha was living with her family at Newfield, Chapel-en-le-Frith, a farm which comprised of 22 acres.  By Henry’s 10th birthday his parents and two siblings were living at Ollerenshaw Wood, Fernilee but Henry was living with his maternal grandmother Martha Lomas at New Field. After the death of his grandmother in August 1897 Henry’s parents took over the farm at Newfield, and this is where the whole family is listed as living in 1901.


In 1904 Henry married Elizabeth Lomas at Devonshire at Park Chapel, Fairfield. She was a year younger and had been born at Combs, Chapel en le Frith- it is possible that she may have been related.  Following their marriage, they settled at Castle Naze, Combs and by 1911 they had three children, the eldest being 3 years old. In all they had 5 children before Elizabeth died in 1917 aged just 36 years.  By the outbreak of the second world war Henry had removed a short way to Owlgreave Farm, Combs which was a dairy farm.  Meanwhile Castle Naze had been taken over by Henry’s eldest son, Henry Oswald Earle Martin junior who had married Ethel May Salt at the Wesleyan Chapel in Higher Buxton in 1931.


Henry Oswald Earle Martin died at St Thomas Hospital in Stockport in January 1963 aged 81 and was buried at St Thomas Becket Church, Chapel en le Frith on the 26th January.

Children of Henry and Elizabeth:

  • Henry Oswald Earle born 15th December 1908 married Ethel May Salt at Higher Buxton Wesleyan Chapel in 1931.

  • Martha Irene born 19th November 1910 married John Reginald Ferguson at Chirst Church, Burbage in 1931

  • Gerald Liddell born 26th March 1911 at Castle Naze

  • Mary Beryl born 17th August 1913 and married Fred Gibson at St Thomas Church, Chapel-en-le-Frith in 1941

  • Gemster born 10th January 1915 he married to Enid P White at St Thomas Church, Chapel-en-le-Frith in 1940. He later moved to Bournemouth and died here on the 1st November 2007.

Blackforest Flock

The Blackforest flock was a short lived flock that was registered by George William Belfield of Swythamley in 1907.  George William Belfield was one of the founding members of the Derbyshire Gritstone Sheep Breeders’ Society and his flock prefix of BLACKFOREST was amongst the first 20 to be registered but  by the time the 1910 Stud Flock Book was produced he had left the society, and as of yet it is uncertain if his stock was dispersed.


George William Belfield was born on the 9th February 1880 and was the eldest son of George and Annie Maria Belfield (nee Crowers) whom had married in 1879.   George senior was himself the son of George and Elizabeth Belfield (nee Bosson) and had grown up at Old Springs farm, Swythamley which was a modest size farm lying about 1000ft above sea level.  Upon George’s marriage to Annie Maria they settled at Thorneyleigh, Leekfrith and George was employed as a gardener before moving to their own farmstead.  They initially settled at Back Dam Farm (1891) before moving to Back Forest (1901) which were both in the Leekfrith area.


George senior died at Old Springs on the 17th August 1904 and his son, George junior, took over the farm.  It appears that it was at about this time that the newly married George William took over the farm at Back Forest – hence the flock prefix of Blackforest being registered in 1907.


George William had married Mary Jane Mason, the sister of Abram Mason founder of the GOOSTREE flock, on the 29th June 1903 in Macclesfield Forest.  By the time of the 1911 census they were living at Brownsett, Leekfrith along with their two children and two servants, one of whom, Philip Warrington, would marry George William’s sister Annie Maria in 1925.  After the 1911 census was compiled George and Mary Jane had a further four children.

  • George born 1905 and married Edith D Massey in 1930

  • Mabel born 1908 and married Frederick H Turnock in 1927

  • Olive born 1912 and married Joseph H S Kirkham in 1935

  • Norman M born 1914 and married Annie Wilde in 1935

  • Lionel L born 1916 unmarried in 1939

  • Phyllis born 1918 unmarried in 1939


George spent the rest of his life at Brownsett and by 1939 he had specialised in dairy farming. He died in the autumn of 1958 aged 79 years.

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