Langley Mill, Derbyshire – St Andrew

On Tuesday 7 May I went over to St Andrew’s Langley Mill where a new Pioneer Minister was being licensed. Langley Mill is a local ecumenical project, and I am the Diocesan Ecumenical Officer. Archdeacon Chris led it, and he was the only person properly addressed – shall we just say it’s not that sort of church! I mustn’t criticise too much – they are working in a church, in a community, where I could never cope. I’ve just read the noticesheet (on their website) and wonder what happens at the “Local preacher straining morning at Marehay”.

Chris preached a lovely sermon about Julian of Norwich, and linked it in with the gifts a pioneer minister needs (though I’m still not sure what a pioneer minister does). Then we had a dance meditation – “interpret the Archdeacon’s sermon through the medium of dance”.  I was asked to be one of those who welcomed – which was nice. I got some photos at the end.

The church is listed Grade II, and is at SK448469, not far from the station (which I should have visited) – it is on the Historic England site at https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1335404. That gives a date of 1911, but doesn’t tell me who the architect was. The church website contains the parish profile when they were looking for a new Vicar in 2015, and that tells me that the building was constructed in 1912, but that’s it.

Time to get Pevsner out – the architect was J.S. Brocklesby, and Pevsner describes it as “a powerful, primitive-looking design in free Romanesque style, with a crossing tower, and an exciting interior.” He also says that “rounded buttresses break through the eaves”, and I like the phrase “vaulted crossing with squinches”.

I must go back and work out what on earth that looks like! He doesn’t make any comment on the altar and reredos, nor on the font and its designs.

There are some interesting memorials – here are two from the First World War, and a lady who worked for the Bible Society (but her name is not an easy one to search for).

The glass is by the firm of Pope and Parr from the mid C20. Pevsner says “a bit weedy and not suited to the architecture.” The firm still exists in Nottingham – website. I quite like it, and my photos don’t do it justice. It was getting a bit dark (and I only had my mobile phone) – and should have photoed the mine from inside.

What I missed was the “good ironwork  including wavy strap hinges and memorable door-handles with horse-head thumb-pieces and plates treated as primitive faces.” Readers of my blog will share my annoyance – I will go back!

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