Blackwell village is part of the ancient parish of Blackwell, situated in the upper Erewash valley, that includes the villages of Hilcote, Newton and Westhouses.
Coal mining on a small scale had been carried on since medieval times with references to disputes between interested parties dating back to the 16th century. The population of the parish was 467 in 1851. By 1891 it had grown to 3104 and by 1921 there were over 5000 people living here. This sudden influx was mainly due to the sinking of deep coal shafts in Blackwell and Hilcote between 1870 and 1890.
Rows of houses were built for the workers and the Blackwell Colliery Company also built a school at Primrose Hill in 1873, supplementing the earlier endowed school. It had to be enlarged several times before a new school was built in the 1890's.
In the churchyard of St Werburgh's Church sits the remains of an anglo saxon cross. The church itself was built in 1827-28 and rebuilt except for the tower in 1878-79. It probably stands on the site of some pre christian enclosure.
Blackwell, had an old custon of Clipping the Church. It took place on the sunday nearest 21st June which is the birthday of St Werburgh. Parishioners 'embraced' the parish church by parading around it, the intention being to mark out the bounds of the church and bring in the flock.