Elton, Derbyshire – All Saints’

Having been to Mapleton (Thursday 28 December 2017) we then drove north to visit All Saints’ church at Elton – SK 222610. There is a nice leaflet of walks round the village, but it was a bit cold for that today. It tells me that people were living in this area 5000 years ago. The village was founded in the 8th or 9th century, and the village was laid out in the 11th. Domesday has 18 families living here. Lead mining was a major contributor to the local economy, particularly between the 16th and 19th century. By 1670 there were 55 houses. There is a village website here, and I’ve found the bus timetable – an hourly service from Matlock (some continuing to Bakewell), which sounds fun.

The medieval church of St Margaret was originally a chapel of the mother church of Youlgreave. It was replaced between 1806 and 1812 after the spire collapsed in a storm. One C19 writer apparently commented that the new church “with its round-headed windows was possessed of all the worst characteristics of the time in which it was built.”

I thought it was nice and simple inside, and rather liked it. They had recently come to the DAC with a loo proposal for the area under the tower – but the door is too narrow. I think the only way will be to use the space which is currently the curtained storage area. These churches are never easy!

The first of these windows is the War Memorial. 11 men from a village this size. There was a little leaflet about them, and in the churchyard we have the grave of Harry Allison. He died in hospital in October 1916 of wounds received while on active service. He was only 18. He had attended the Village School, which is next to the church – and the school closed for the afternoon so the children could attend  his funeral.

They have produced a fascinating booklet called “Rectors Remembered” which is a guide to the Garrett and Johnson memorials in the church, and the history of the Victorian clergy. John Fisher Garrett was curate and later rector from the time of his ordination in 1836 until his death in 1878. He was the grandson of the Garretts of Leiston in Suffolk. (Many years ago we had holidays in Dunwich, and visited the Long Shop Museum in Leiston – website). He got a new Parsonage House in 1838 – the previous one having been described as “a small house fit for a decent labourer but not fit for a clergyman.” He had two wives, Elizabeth then Mary, and eight children. The East Window is in memory of Mary. One of his sons, Fydell Edmund (1865-1907) was educated at Trinity, Cambridge, and became a journalist. Two years later he was diagnosed with TB and sent to the warmer climate of South Africa for twelve months to report on its industries, people and problems. He returned there in 1895, when he became editor of the Cape Times aged 30. He had to resign 4 years later, and spent several years in a sanatorium near Nayland in Suffolk. He died in 1907.

The Reverend Timothy Johnson became Rector in 1881, and served here for 44 years. His wife was Ellen, son John and daughter Henrietta. His son died aged 11, and Ellen a decade or so later. Their portraits are incorporated into a memorial window.

When the church was rebuilt, the Norman font, dating from 1150 or thereabouts, was moved to the churchyard. It then made its way to Youlgreave, and was installed in that church, In the 1870s Elton asked for it back – request denied. This is a replica made in 1879. It is an unusual stoup at the side, and the carving is thought to be a salamander. It is capable of extinguishing fire, and is a symbol of purification and enduring faith – apparently it appears on the Bayeux Tapestry, on the shields of Norman soldiers. An exotic king waiting to join the Nativity.

Nice scenery on the way out of the village, and home via Matlock Sainsbury’s. Can I end the final church blog of 2017 with “Matlock Sainsbury’s”? 2017 started with the excellent cake of the Vicar of Littleover …. is there a theme here?




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