Chesterfield, Derbyshire – Christ Church

On Sunday 30 September there were a couple of churches in Chesterfield doing WW1 Commemoration events. Our friend Anne had been with us for the weekend and was returning to Northumberland – so Chesterfield is en route. Christ Church is at SK 385723, and has a website shared with Holy Trinity (which we visited several years ago). The Derbyshire Churches website gives it a couple of sentences: “Christ Church on Sheffield Road is the sister church to Holy Trinity and both share the same vicar, David Horsfall. The Foundation Stone of this church was laid on 5 September 1869 by the Venerable Thos. Hill B.D, Archdeacon of Derby, and consecrated on 20 September 1870 by the Bishop of Lichfield.” Pevsner is even briefer: “Of 1869 by S. Rollinson, aisles of 1913-14 by S. Rollinson & Sons. Of stone, lancet style with W bellcote. N aisle converted to a meeting room.” The church has excellent access.

 

The Derby Diocesan website has a link to photos of the WW1 event – here – and as soon as we arrived it was obvious a huge amount of work had been done.

 

My dad had one of these stereoscopes, and it was great to be able to pick up the slides and use it properly. It is funny how 3D seems to bring a photo alive.

There was a chap who has obvious gathered a collection of fascinating items, and was demonstrating the weapons and chatting to people. The only problem was that someone else was doing a talk with powerpoint, and it was hard not to disturb him.

The side altar had been transformed with a cascade of knitted poppies – a lot of work had gone into this.  Quite profound with the blank face of the soldier in front.

The choir stalls in the Chancel had been made into trenches and if the photos are believed the school children enjoyed them. The War Memorial window is quite fascinating – I’ll use it to illustrate my Remembrance Sunday sermon at St Matthew’s. The joint school choir has opted to sing Imagine  by John Lennon, so I have to counter “imagine there’s no heaven” with some more positive images. The other Chancel windows have a War memorial feel as well. The windows are in memory of Thomas Stubley and Clarence Victor Campbell. The parish had researched them, and all their other WW1 dead. Apparently the image of the soldier and Christ was taken from a picture postcard which was sent to him in France, and which had been a source of great strength to him. Michael and Gabriel are in the other window.

Private Charles Gordon Shaw was mortally wounded on the first day of the Somme offensive. He was rescued from the battlefield by his close friend Sergeant Dick Wragg, who saved three men that day and was awarded the DCM for his bravery. He was shipped back to England where he died of his wounds six days later. Dick’s original headstone has been laid here so that their story will be forever joined.

 

The milk carton hooks made me smile. We had spent so long here that the other WW1 Chesterfield church will have to wait until 2118.

 

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