Alsop en le Dale, Derbyshire – St Michael

Wednesday 24 August was a beautiful day. After a morning service we drove to Ashbourne and parked in the centre. It is not the most Julie-wheelchair-friendly town, but Costa is accessible and there is a very good Oxfam bookshop. Those of you who know my wife will know that was expensive. Then we drove north and went to Alsop en le Dale – I last looked down on this village from my balloon.

DSC03484-01St Michael’s church is at SK160551, park of the Peak Five group. The house opposite is quite special too. A welcoming notice telling me the church is open, and the noticeboard inside is busy.



The church has an early Norman foundation, and a rather splendid Norman doorway. There are foundation charters from 1240 and 1290, when it was a dependency of the mother church in Ashbourne. The registers date back to 1701.


The church was restored in 1883, much of it paid for by Sir Henry Allsopp. Apparently the Allsopps still come together in the village on a June Sunday every year. Perhaps I should start a custom of Barhams coming together at one of our three villages (Huntingdon, Suffolk and Kent). A tower was built, a new floor with Minton tiles, and the oak pulpit was apparently “removed” from an Ashbourne church. Rather a good pulpit. The architect was Mr F.J. Robinson of Derby.


The Millennium window is by Henry Haig, and was installed in July 2001. Its design is based on Revelation 21 and 22 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth”. The river of life flows up the centre of the window, arising out of the throne of God. It is also suggestive of the cross of Christ – an empty cross, symbolising the resurrection. The reddish fruits of the trees of life can be seen, and the shapes of alpha and omega symbolizing the fact that Christ is the beginning and end of all things. The green reflects the connection made with the landscapes of Derbyshire and the glory and splendour of God’s creation. The yellow represents the light of the glory of God, and you can see the descending Holy Spirit. Lovely!


DSC03610DSC03612Outside are some lovely tombs. Ralph Johnson and his wife Grace, Mary and Francis, are remembered on the side of the church. Two sad slate graves are Naomi (aged 7), her baby sister Rachel, and her mother Rachel (aged 44, the year after Naomi died).  My heart goes out to Joseph, husband and dad.


We drove back into Tissington, had an ice cream in the café opposite the church, and then drove to the car park on the Tissington trail, at the old station. I left Julie with one of the many books she had bought, and went for a 3 mile walk to Alsop station, and 3 miles back. A good walk, nice views, but nothing at Alsop when I got there. There is a photo of the station just after closure at this website. You can just see the churchyard from the station.



We drove back the pretty way, a wonderful ford, Bradbourne (a Thankful village), Hognaston, Hulland and Kedleston. Lots of churches to discover and blog – you lucky people!



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