Chaddesden, Derby – St Mary the Virgin

In the afternoon of Thursday 18 May we had Deanery Chapter at St Mary’s Chaddesden. The one benefit of Deanery Chapter is you get to visit lovely churches, and today I had a walk too. 4 miles to get there, then a bit of a lift home and a mile’s walk.

The church is at SK382368 and feels like a village church in the middle of city estates. In 1997 they produced a comprehensive 64 page guidebook – now history has been relegated to a short page on the church website.

This area was in the parish of Spondon for many years, though it would be good to think that St Chad preached in the hamlet in the C7. There is known there was a chapel here in 1347 when villagers sought permission from the Bishop to have their dead buried here rather than at Spondon. The Bishop gave his permission on condition that the fees went to the Vicar of Spondon! Various of the de Chaddesdens rose to high ecclesiastical positions – apparently the tomb of Ralph de Chaddesden at Sawley is rather splendid. In 1355 Nicholas and Geoffrey de Chaddesden obtained royal licence to transfer 12 acres of land for the endowment of a new chantry and the upkeep of its three chaplains. At the Reformation the annual value of the chantry was £36-13-4, which paid for fees, bread, wine and wax, and the “salarie and lyvinge” of the four chantry priests – Ralph Shaw, Walter Newham, Edmund Carlton and William Cartledge, as well “for kepyinge of hospitalite”. They were ejected in 1547, on a pension of £6 a year. (The guidebook is very thorough, and I wish I had read it before my recent talk on the Reformation – it gives a lot of local information).

The church became its own parish church in 1851, and there was a major rebuild at the end of that decade. The estate was broken up at the end of WW1, and the houses of Derby spread over it. A huge community that the church should be serving.

The clock is a Smith’s clock of 1904. There is a blog about it on the Chaddesden Historical Group website.

A good modern servery and loo at the west end, and a rather splendid Victorian font. Since you have to attend church for six months before they will discuss baptism with you, I don’t suppose the font is much used. I shall continue to enjoy the pleasure of lovely baptisms and the opportunity to meet new families.

I wonder if this lump of stone was a previous font.

There are some interesting figures, but I only got one photo.

There is some very good woodwork. The Rood screen is C15, though it was “restored” in the C19. Apparently there is a peacock and a green man – I need to go back and find them. The pulpit is 1897, and some work later than that.

The side altar has an interesting reredos. The frame is medieval, but the current picture was installed in 1920 – the guidebook does not name the artist, Pevsner says it is by J. Eadie Reid, who was art master at Cheltenham Ladies College. Some of his work is in Cheltenham, and in Worcester Cathedral.

There is another reredos at the east end, which is by Walter Tapper, 1904. It has a centre of alabaster with carved figures, hinged wings on each side with paintings by Phoebe Traquair. She was an Irish born artist who did a lot of work in Edinburgh – Mansfield Traquair sounds well worth a visit – website. There is a black and white photo of it on the front of the guidebook, but I can’t find anything on the www. Obviously carved figures and saints do not fit the theology of the current regime. The Church of England is a very broad church – and I’m happy in my bit!


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