Egginton, Derbyshire – St Wilfrid

Chris and I drove a couple of miles down to St Wilfrid’s church in Egginton – grid reference SK 267278, website. It has a 56 page glossy guidebook. The line of the A38 is a Roman road, and “The farmstead of Ecga” may well have been settled in the C6. Wilfrid, or Wilfrith, was an Anglo-Saxon who lived from 634 to 709. A novice at Lindisfarne, he visited Rome, then received the monastery of Ripon in 661. Later he was Bishop of Hexham.

There was a priest, church and mill here by the time of Domesday. The present Chancel dates to about 1300. For several centuries it was under the care of Dale Abbey, which lasted until 1538. The low west tower must have been built not long before the Reformation. In 1552 the inventory of the church read “Will Babyngton parson. 1 chalis of silver with a paten parcel gilt, 1 pyx of laten, 1 canape, 1 crosse of copper and gilte, 2 candlestycks of brasse, 1 hollywater pan of brasse, 1 bell in the steple, the other 2 were sold for the repayrying of the Moncks’ bridge, 3 odd coopes, 7 vestments, 3 aulter clothes, 2 albes, 3 towels and 1 corporas, 1 lytle hand bell, 1 lytle sacrying bell, 2 crewetts of pewter, 2 syrplesses”.

One of the Babington family was the Roman Catholic Anthony, who had been Mary Queen of Scots’ page when she was held in captivity in Sheffield. He became involved in a plot to murder Elizabeth and replace her with Mary – in 1586 he paid for that with his life. Some of his possessions, including the right of presentation here, were transferred to Sir Walter Raleigh.

During the Civil War, the Every family who owned the village, were Royalists, and there was a skirmish with the Parliamentarians just to the north of the village in March 1644 – the Royalists lost. The family somehow survived, and Sir Henry Every flourished after the Restoration, becoming Deputy Lieutenant and a Justice of the Peace. He was buried in the church in 1700. One of Henry’s sons was Simon, ordained at 28, he fathered six sons and eight daughters, died in 1753 at the age of 93.

The Trent and Mersey Canal was opened by 1776 (I really must have a walk along it sometime soon), the village was enclosed in 1791, and the Turnpike Road became busier. The Monks Bridge has been bypassed, but I need to explore. The Old Hall burned down in 1736, a new one was built. That was derelict  by the middle of the C20, but a new house was built in 1994.

Although the church is now entered through the north door, we went for a walk round the south side. Past two War graves, then I admired the lovely wall, and the gravestone of Mary Ledward “for many years a servant in the family and for the last 30 years the faithful and respected housekeeper to the Revd. John Leigh, Rector of this parish. A grateful master for her fidelity causes this stone to be erected. Words are useless when her character has left her memory behind her. She died in perfect quiet on the 22nd June 1853 aged 84 years.” I wonder how many pastoral crises she handled.

A nice looking church, with an 1893 font under the tower – not the best place for it. I liked the little face.

The Bishop is Edward Francis Every, baptised in this church, Bishop of the Falkland Islands 1902-1910, Bishop in Argentina and Eastern South America 1910-1937, and Assistant Bishop of Derby and Rector of Egginton 1927 until his death in 1941. He is buried here. The flute and clarionet were presented to the church in 1912 by Mr Thomas Hulland. They were used in this church, together with a bassoon and violoncello, to accompany the singing before an organ was introduced (probably about 1845). In the churchwarden expenses for 1782 appears “Paid for the bassoon reeds, 5s. 0d.” An interesting selection of other memorials.

This is the West Tower window. It depicts St Wilfrid, was designed by Sarah Burgess (who did St Helen at Etwall). It was installed in 2003, and constructed by Tony Sandles of Saffron Walden. The panels represent the landscape around Egginton, the coloured shafts recalling the decorated willows celebrating the osier growing within the village.

The other modern glass is the south aisle window, with the theme “I am the resurrection and the life”, which is used to depict the natural world around Egginton, fields, trees, bird and animal life. It includes some local features. It was designed and crafted by Michael Stokes of MDS Glass of Edwinstowe, Nottingham.

The East Window dates from the C13 or C14. In its original state it would have been full of glass – all that remains from this period are six small figures and the border. It was cleaned and repaired in 1984. The Nativity scene is in the North Chancel window. It is from the studio of Charles Eamer Kempe – I love the angels.

The pulpit is Jacobean, and I think it is lovely. I like the figures – exceptional. It needs some research – I feel another PhD coming on.

Lovely chair, a selection of books in a convenient niche, a cross, a hatchment, and a wonderful notice on the piano. Another visit I enjoyed.


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2 Responses to Egginton, Derbyshire – St Wilfrid

  1. Jane Marie (Every) Santa Cruz says:

    My maiden lat name is Every, so you can imagine how delightful the information on Eddinton, South derbyshire parish is for me. I no idea my ancestors were so prominent in England. Anyway, I have a question: Was St. Wilifrid’s Church ever a Roman Catholic church? If so, when?

    • admin says:

      Sorry for the delay in replying. Like every old church in England, St Wilfred’s would have been a Catholic church until the Reformation.

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