Breadsall, Derbyshire – All Saints

The Churchwardens were sworn in at a service at All Saints church, Breadsall, on Tuesday 18 June. It’s a church close to home, with a lovely spire that looks down on the Derwent valley. SK 371398. They have a website – https://www.breadsallchurch.org.uk/  – which has a section on disabled access, but it makes nothing of the history of this Grade 1 church, and has no comments as to when it is unlocked. The two noticeboards in the churchyard have no contact details at all. There are details of the church at https://britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101328833-church-of-all-saints-breadsall. I went back on another occasion to get a few outside photos – you can decide whether you like the evening light, or the gathering storm.

The tower is C13 and I like the line “Clasping buttresses rising to crenellated parapet on corbels.” The spire is C14 – Pevsner says it is “one of the finest steeples in the county.” The main entrance is not easy, but there is a south door, probably C12 with some old wrought iron work.

The church was rebuilt after a fire in 1914, and tradition says that was started by Suffragettes. An article in the Derby Telegraph looks at this – https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/nostalgia/breadsall-church-fire-suffragettes-arson-1473287 and has some photos of the damage. The Vicar was in no doubt it was the women! The tower and spire and walls were almost all that was saved. They did a good job of the rebuilding. I like the carving on the screen. There are some burnt papers, and a memorial plaque. Nice angels high inside, but my photos failed.

There is a pieta – described by Pevsner as “somewhat strident in expression.” It’s C14 Nottingham alabaster, found in 1877. There was a gallery of Nottingham alabaster in Nottingham Castle Museum, but when we went last year it was a gallery that needed some work. The museum is now closed, so we’ll see if the religious artefacts get the care and display that they need, or whether they’ll just be put in store because no one’s interested in religious stuff.

Nice east end, and some interesting embroidery.

The memorial is to Erasmus Darwin, “A Physician, Poet and Philospher”. He died in 1802 at Breadsall Priory – now a location of wedding and funeral bunfights. The Erasmus Darwin Museum at Lichfield is well worth a visit  https://www.erasmusdarwin.org/. I’m sorry I couldn’t get better photos.

I like the angel tree, and the memorial to an organist.

Let’s also remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice – and the church people who maintain the churches, churchyards and everything else. Let’s give thanks for those who look after our churches today – here’s my lovely wardens (Patrick, Michele, Peter and David).

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