Hognaston, Derbyshire – St Bartholomew

On Friday 5 May we had popped over to Ashbourne for the delights of Waitrose, and diverted back via St Bartholomew’s, Hognaston – SK236506 – website. Will we ever get back to a Society where we don’t have to collect for foodbanks?

It’s a C13 tower, with a C15 top, and battlements dating to the 1879-81 rebuilding by Stevens and Robinson. Apparently the clock was a gift of John Smith’s, the clock makers of Derby, as Mr Smith himself lived here.

The south wall is Norman, and in the porch is an “amazing Norman doorway”, to quote the current edition of Pevsner.  It probably dates not long after the Conquest. The tympanum has incised pictures of a bishop with a crook, an Agnus Dei (the Lamb of God), a bird, boar or pig and several other beasts, probably sheep. The original edition of Pevsner apparently asked “What on earth did our forebears mean by such representations? And how can one account for this total absence of a sense of composition and this utterly childish treatment?” There are some interesting figures in the pillars, and the door itself is C17.

Inside, the north aisle has been partitioned off, and the electrics look wonderfully complicated. The inside does look very Victorian, which is a shame. How old is the font?

An ancient guide leaflet is pasted up in church – sadly there is no modern guidebook. This tells me that in 1240 it was a chapelry of Ashbourn, under the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln. An inventory taken in the first year of Edward’s VI’s reign – 1547 – says Thos Haydock, Curate, 1 chalice with paten, 2 vestments with alb and amesse, 1 surplus, 1 corporas, 2 altar cloths, 1 towel, 1 payr of censors, 1 crosse of woode covered with plate, 2 bells, a sakarynge bell. A report dated 1650 describes Mr Roger Cooke the curate as “honest but weake” (hardly seems fair not to have his response). Two later clergy are memorialised.


I like the east window, 1922 by H.H. Martyn & Co. Herbert Henry Martyn founded the company in 1888 – a firm of stone, marble and wood carvers, specialising in gravestones, memorials and church work. They were based in Cheltenham for many years.

Nice views from the churchyard, and some interesting memorials. Details of the war memorial are here.






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