One of our local retired priests put on facebook that there was a flower festival at St John the Baptist in Smalley – I thought we had a Diocesan communications department to tell us what is going on – so we went for a drive, it’s only a few miles away, SK 407446. They had a nice clear notice outside.
There is a mention of a church and priest in the Domesday book, but it was a parochial chapelry for Morley until 1877. They have a yew tree in the churchyard which they claim is “the finest in the Derbyshire and calculated to be about 1,000 years old” – as curator of the Allestree yew, I beg to differ. For the festival we have fairies in the tree, and a willow horse.
The west wall is the only part of the church building of 1793 which is still standing, transepts were added in 1844, and new aisles and chancel of 1862-3. The Vicar who led all this building work was The Reverend Samuel Fox. The short west tower was added in 1912, architect Currey & Thompson, and the main porch is also C20, replacing the original. It was lovely to have a buzz as we came in, and people were being sensible with their social distancing. You realise how much we have missed events like this. The church looked great. (The flowers had been up since the weekend, so were a little past their best, but Heanor Flower Club deserve to take a bow).
The Roll of Honour is very long, and the font was given by Mr Anthony Kerry in 1856 in memory of his only daughter. The theme of the flowers was ‘A Day to remember’, so ‘a new baby. A new birthday’ is very appropriate, but a little sad for the Kerry family too.
The window in the north west corner is in memory of Herbert Harrison Dix (1883-1972), for many years organist and choir master. “Make a joyful noise untothe Lord” – we’ve all known choirs like that! Talking of noise, a window with the Glastonbury Festival and Thorn tree. I like the flowers round the columns and the dove arch too.
A trip to the Art Gallery and Kew Gardens.
Some nice memorials, and I like the face at the bottom of the moulding.
Lovely altar frontal, with a reredos of 1864 and Victorian windows. Looking westward, the window in the west wall is in memory of churchwarden Ivan Eyre. I did a google to see if I could find the artist. There is a Canadian artist called Ivan Eyre, and a car window firm in Smalley, but that’s as far as I got.
In the north aisle was a display about 9/11 – certainly a day to remember.
Outside, some lovely graves. An interesting tower, and the memorial to the man who built it. Thank you to him, and to those who maintain it (worship in it, and decorate it) in the 21st century.