The Nightingale Family of Lea and Ashover

By Arthur A. Rollason

Who has not heard of Miss Florence Nightingale and her Derbyshire residence, Lea Hurst? Yet, beyond the fact that she was a daughter of William Edward Shore, on whom the large estates of his maternal great-uncle, Peter Nightingale, Esq., were settled, and who in pursuance of his uncle's will assumed the name of Nightingale by royal sign-manual, dated 21 Feb., 1815, very little information is afforded by genealogical publications as to the Nightingale family.
The Peter Nightingale, Esq., referred to was of Lea. He was High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1770, and acquired several manors and large estates in the county.
At Lea Hall (now occupied by Mrs. Radford) is a stone over the kitchen showing the following:-

P. N.
1754.

This refers to Peter Nightingale, the father of Peter Nightingale, Esq. The latter appears to have been born about 1737.
In the burial ground of the church at Ashover there are, near to the gate at the east end, four tombs to the memory of the Nightingales. There are other gravestones in various parts of the burial ground referring to persons of the same name. We learn from the inscriptions on these monuments that Thomas Nightingale, Gent. de Lea, died January 19, 1734, aged 69; and his widow, Katherine Nightingale, also of Lea, died April 27, 1742, aged 70; and that they had at least three children, viz. :- (1) Henry Nightingale of Matlock Woolds, who died April 17, 1780, aged 78. He is described as uncle to Peter Nightingale of Lea, Esq. (2) Peter Nightingale, who died February 2, 1763 or 1765, aged 58. (3) Job Nightingale, who died May 26, 1731, aged 18.
The wife of Henry Nightingale was named Ellen. She is described as of Matlock Wooldes, and died February 17, 1767, aged 38 or 58. On the gravestone of Henry and Ellen Nightingale there is an inscription to the memory of Job Nightingale, who died June 7, 1785, aged 51. The wife of Peter Nightingale was named Anne. She died April 4, 1742, aged 37, and is described as "the wife of Peter Nightingale, of Lea, Lead Merchant." The inscription also refers to "her daughter, Elner, an infant" having died.
Thomas, the eldest son of Peter and Anne Nightingale, died November 6, 1755, aged 24. Peter Nightingale, Esquire, son of the above Peter and Anne Nightingale, died June 25, 1803, aged 66. According to Burke, this Peter died unmarried, and had an only sister named Anne, who married George Evans, of Cromford. William Shore, a banker of Sheffield, and residing at Tapton, married Mary, their daughter, and they left issue one son and one daughter, viz. :- William Edward Shore (who assumed the name Nightingale, and married Frances, daughter of William Smith, Esq., of Parndon, in Essex) and Mary, who married Samuel Smith, Esq., son of the above-named William Smith, of Parndon.
The children of William Edward Nightingale were Frances Parthenope (who married, in 1858, Sir H. Verney, Bart.) and Florence, whose disinterested exertions in the cause of the sanitary condition of the British army earned for her a world-wide fame.

- from Notts. and Derbyshire Notes and Queries, Vol. IV, 1896.