Heage, Derbyshire – St Luke

We had the afternoon of Sunday 25 June off, and went across to Hardwick Hall. We went via Belper as I wanted to collect some train tickets. As we went through Heage we saw this notice – so stopped to visit St Luke’s church – SK370506 – website.


The original church dates to 1661 (at least, that is my educated guess), and the porch is 1752.

Then they added a wider extension at the west end – which means that the church now has two altars. They use the original one when they use the old chapel for Evensong, and the newer one for the more informal morning service. They would like to get rid of the pews in the new bit and replace them with something better. I can see why.

It is stepped access to the main church, but flat access into the old one – they opened the door for us – we walked through the display.

Coffee and scones were served, and we enjoyed the displays. It seems a lot of work for a weekend. They were having a Songs of Praise this evening.

I liked this Good Samaritan window, and the expressions of the priest and Levite, and Jesus with the woman at the well is rather nice too.


They had done a colourful display on the font, and the roof was worth looking up at.

Outside an interesting churchyard to have a poke around.

There’s also a windmill in this village – something else to visit – website.


Posted in Derbyshire | Leave a comment

Hucknall, Nottinghamshire – St Mary Magdalene

We called in at Rufford, and then the final stop on our bus tour was Hucknall. I have been to Hucknall before – I have been through on the railway line, and I have travelled the tram north from Nottingham, but it is not on the tourist trail. Once Hucknall was a thriving town with textiles, mining  and engineering, surrounded by good farming land. Then the town stopped thriving. In order to make it thrive again, a lot of money has obviously been poured in, We were handed a glossy brochure A Snapshot of Hucknall in the 21st century produced by the Hucknall Tourism and Regeneration Group – website. There is a town tour, 91 places to visit – you would think they could have found another nine – a driving tour, a walking tour, and a Byron Festival.

St Mary Magdalene, described on the leaflets as “The Parish Church in the heart of the town” stands at the top of the High Street, by the Market – SK 533494. They have a website and can do clever things with QR codes. They have obviously had a lot of money to reorder and tell their history, and are using it to proclaim that “the church is a place for Christian worship and has opportunities for people of all ages and experiences.”

I picked up five leaflets – Pilgrimage, an interactive tour; Kempe pilgrimage; Byron pilgrimage; Ada Lovelace; Ben Gaunt. There are lots of other displays – inside and out. I had a good chat with the churchwarden, and he suggested I bring my lot over for an afternoon. There is certainly plenty to see.

The tower is the oldest part of the church, dating back to the C11, as does the Nave. The north aisle is thirteenth century, and there was a major extension 1887/8.

Inside is a medieval coffin lid. This is one of the symbols of the Four Evangelists.

This angel, on the last pillar on the south aisle, was installed at the extension of 1872/3. It was commissioned by Canon John Godber, the wealthy Victorian benefactor.

He also paid for the huge number of Kempe windows. Charles Eamer Kempe (1837-1907) and his studio produced windows for many churches, and the pilgrimage leaflet takes you round all of them in this church. My photos of windows are never very good – I need a proper lesson. I was under a little time pressure today, so my apologies.

When Canon Godber ran out of windows to be filled, he used James Powell and Sons, Whitefriars Glass, to produce these angels and other panels. The process is known as Opus Sectile, pieces of coloured glass turned into tiles.  We have the return of the Prodigal Son. The company also produced early light bulbs.

At the East End is a Victorian reredos. It is closed for Advent and Lent  (and the leaflet explains what those seasons are).

Byron is buried in a vault beneath the chancel. I have to say I know hardly anything about Lord Byron – except that he kept a bear while at Cambridge. The leaflet tries to make something vaguely spiritual – “Poet and icon of the Romantic age [he] found rest here … . It had been a short life but a long pilgrimage of self discovery. He had wandered across Europe in self-imposed exile and explored the boundaries of socially acceptable behaviour on a spiritual quest, searching for meaning to his life. He finally found it in the struggle to liberate his beloved Greece, sacrificing his life to that cause before his body returned home to the Byron family vault.”

One of the others in the vault is Ada Lovelace (1815-1852). She was Byron’s only legitimate daughter, but never knew her father. Her mother, Annabella Millbanke, steered her away from poetry towards more logical and scientific pursuits. She discovered a natural flair for mathematics, and this ability impressed Charles Babbage, the designer of the first mechanical computer. He asked her to work on some mathematical problems which could be run through the engine. The algorithm she produced to calculate a number sequence called Bernouilli numbers is widely considered to be the first computer programme. Later she was the first to suggest that a machine might mimic human creativity.

I liked this Madonna and Child – indeed, I liked this church, and there is a lot more I could have blogged.

Let us go outside, enjoy the garden – and end with a notice that shows Rectorial Power. I want one!

Posted in Nottinghamshire | Leave a comment

Annesley, Nottingham – Annesley Old Church

A while ago the HLF tweeted about a day course on Friday 16 June on “How to organise a Heritage Bus Tour”, to take place at Bestwood Country Park on the north side of Nottingham. It was an interesting bunch of people in an interesting place – a little visitor centre next to the old pit head.

After lunch we had a Heritage Bus Tour. I was hoping for “a big six wheeler, scarlet-painted, 97 horsepower”, but it was a boring minibus. There were Byron links with our afternoon out, and the first stop was Annesley Old Church – SK504524. They have a facebook page and are on this website and on this one.

There was a Saxon church on this site, which was replaced by a Norman church about 1150, then by this church which was completed in 1356. Annesley pit was sunk in the parish in the second half of the C19, and the community of New Annesley grew fast. Annesley All Saints was consecrated in 1874. The old church was used on and off until the 1940s, then deteriorated.



DH Lawrence wrote “The church is abandoned. As I drew near an owl floated softly out of the black tower. Grass overgrew the threshold. I punched open the door, grinding back a heap of fallen plaster and entered the place. In the twilight the pews were leaning in ghostly disorter, the prayer books dragged from their ledges, scatted on the floor in the dust and rubble, torn by mice and birds. Birds scuffed in the darkness of the road.”


Work to make the church safe was done in the early part of this decade, and it is a pleasant place to explore – though the road beside it is busy (there is decent parking).

The Old Hall next door and the stable block the other side are also in an appalling state – despite being Grade II listed buildings – there is a blog here. Byron was a childhood sweetheart of Mary Ann Chaworth, who lived here.

This memorial is to Commader George Chaworth Musters (1841-1879). He explored Patagonia in 1869-70. There is information about him here. Some other fascinating graves.

Well worth a visit – bring a picnic!



Posted in Nottinghamshire | Leave a comment

northernvicarwalks – May 2017

At the end of April I had done 270 miles (I should have done 329). Therefore I was 59 miles in debt. May is even worse. On Sunday 30 April, the first day of Week 18, I walked 5 miles … and did something to my foot. No more walking that week.

In Week 19 I did 5 miles. 4 of those were on Saturday 13 May when I had a ride on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway (they had a diesel unit weekend), a walk round the town, a bus back to Belper, a walk there, and another bus home.

Week 20 was better – 12 miles. Sunday 14 May from the Hanging Gate, and walks round Allestree and across to Chaddesden.

Week 21 was a local week, just 9 miles and no photos.

We ended the month by spending Bank Holiday Monday at Hampton Court. We walked 5 miles round the rose garden, park, and roof. I highly recommend Historic Royal Palaces – website – and the members’ tour of the roof was excellent.

That made 30 miles in May, and I should have walked 85. So by the end of May I had walked 300 miles. I should have done 414. I am now 114 miles in debt.

Posted in 1,000 mile walking, Derbyshire, London, Railway interest | Leave a comment

Lazonby, Cumbria – St Nicholas

St Nicholas, Lazonby, is in the middle of the village, just to the east of the station – NY549397. There is a leaflet which gives a circular drive from Penrith via this church and three others. I like the welcome notice and Café church banner – but how many s’s in Mission? I googled Lazonby church and didn’t find much – I then searched for “East of Eden Mission Community” and found it – which is OK if you’re in the know.

Finlay Hansford, my Godson, was being confirmed here on Sunday 21 May. We got there nice and early, and had a push to get Julie up the hill and in to church. Wheelchair ramps were in place and the warden could not have been more helpful.

There was an early church on this site – there are records from 1167 – but it was completely destroyed. There is an early preaching cross, and a substantial war memorial.

A Victorian church was built in the mid 1860s and consecrated in 1866. The architect was Anthony Salvin – we came across his work at North Sunderland and elsewhere.







Canon Wilson was Rector here from 1877 to 1920 – 43 years. He was a fine wood carver, and seems to have carved everything that didn’t move.

I like the way they have re-used some of the carved screens in the 2009 kitchen.

I liked this window, altar and figure.

Sadly there was no choir today, but we all sang well. I haven’t sung this chorus for a few years.

The church was pretty full for the service. The Bishop of Penrith did a good job, and chatted to the youngsters afterwards. All in all, a lovely morning. I am a proud Godfather.

I found time to have a quick explore of the Settle and Carlisle station – 1870, once a very busy place, with sheep auctions in the goods yard.


Posted in Cumbria, Personal, Railway interest, World War 1 | 1 Comment

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!


Posted in Derbyshire | Leave a comment

Boulton, Derby – St Mary the Virgin (again)

David, one of my churchwardens, wanted a chat – so we had it en route to the Tip. We came home via St Mary’s Boulton, where they are opening the church on a regular basis. We had visited this church on a previous occasion, but here are some new photos.

The lych gate is a War Memorial.

This time we entered through the south door – C13 porch with Norman tympanum. Interesting font, vase, not sure what it is.

The church is open, and people are visiting regularly. They are doing a Prayer Week, working with local schools – and have some great ideas and resources.

I do like this window.

I climbed up to the balcony, and found their crib. We have a German Market in Allestree in November, and I will be organising a display of cribs in church. I will be in touch to borrow it – and thank them for their welcome today.




Posted in Derbyshire, World War 1 | Leave a comment

Marlpool, Derbyshire – All Saints

On Thursday 11 May I had a full day’s Safeguarding Training at All Saints Church, Ilkeston Road, Marlpool, DE75 7BP. In any other profession you could at least count on a decent lunch – here we had to bring our own.

The book Anglican Churches of Derbyshire by I.A.H. Combes, Landmark Publishing, 2004, says “This red brick church was built in 1908 by Naylor and Sale and rebuilt in 1950 following a fire”.  There is a photo of the church on fire, and a little more information, here. This website says that the church is open daily.

Some nice brickwork and ironwork on the south door. The main entrance through the west door is easier, though less elegant.

There is a lovely carving of the Holy Family inside, but I managed to wobble the camera. The church itself is light and open. I liked the Easter Garden under the altar.

The reading desk is a war memorial, but I could see no mention of which school they are memorialising. 

The first floor meeting room (with lift) is very good for a meeting.


Posted in Derbyshire | Leave a comment

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.






Posted in Derbyshire | Leave a comment

northernvicar walks – April 2017

I started the month with an 8 mile circuit of Carsington Water on Saturday 1 April. Then started the 14th week of the year with a walk at Kedleston. We had a day in Buxton – I bought a new pair of walking boots, then climbed up to Solomon’s Temple – website. I did a few miles later in the week delivering Easter cards round Allestree, and we had a coffee at the National Stone Centre while I did another walk – 23 miles that week.

14 miles in Holy Week – one has to do some work! On Palm Sunday afternoon we went to Nottingham. Julie was happy in a huge Waterstone’s while I had a walk to the Great Northern Station and then along the canal as far as the Gregory Street tram stop. Happy Julie, happy Peter. The Nottingham and Beeston Canal has this website.

At the end of the week I had a day on the Talyllyn Railway, and a walk up to the incline in the woods above Nant Gwernol. The Talyllyn is one of my favourite lines – here is their website.

Week 16 started on Easter Sunday. On Easter Monday I got up early and caught the bus to Ambergate. I then walked the Cromford Canal in an easterly direction. Here is the Friends of Cromford Canal website. Sadly this section is derelict, but it was fascinating following the route. Bluebells in the woods by the National Grid site. Over the railway and road, where Bullbridge Aqueduct used to stand – this engraving was done for Francis Thompson, the architect of the North Midland line. The whole thing was demolished in 1968 as the arch over the road was a little narrow.

Through Buckland Hollow Tunnel, and through to Hartshay. Two main roads are built over the line of the canal, and the Butterley Tunnel is closed. The original tunnel was 2966 yards long, and about 9 feet wide and 8 feet high (from water level). At the time of building it was the third longest in the world.

The walk goes past the Midland Railway Centre, which I haven’t visited for years, then I cut down into Ripley and caught the bus home from outside the Hippodrome cinema. That was 8 miles.

Later in the week I had a walk from Breadsall round through Little Eaton. The blossom is lovely this year.

As well as two churches Jess and I walked a good few miles in London – we also said “hello” to John Henry Greathead. His statue is on Cornhill, by the Royal Exchange in the City. There is an excellent blog about him here. That was 25 miles in the week.

Week 17 was 22 miles. The 2nd of my Derwent Walks, some lovely walks through the Bluebell Woods through Allestree Park and Quarndon, and a trot along the Monsal Trail.

Then I finished the month with 5 miles on Sunday 30 April from Wirksworth station, up to the Cromford and High Peak, up to Middleton Top, and back through the quarries.

At end of March I had done 173 miles (I should have done 247, so I was 74 miles in debt). In April I did 97 (I should have done 82). So, in the first four months of the year I have done 270 miles (I should have done 329). I am now 59 miles in debt.


Posted in 1,000 mile walking, Derbyshire, London, Railway interest | Leave a comment