Churches & Pub
Group meets on the 1st Wednesday of each month,
10am at the village hall, unless stated otherwise.
beforehand if you wish to
come on any visit. We need to provide both
church & pub with an indication of numbers.
and Pubs Proposed Visits for 2011
Click on the date link for the report
St. Mary the Virgin, Wirksworth, Derbyshire.
St Mary and St Barlock, Norbury, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
Holy Trinity Parish Church, Ashford in the Water, Derbyshire.
July 6th - Note Change of venue
Holy Cross, Ilam, Derbyshire and the Blue Bell at Tissington.
St Wilfrid's Church, Grappenhall, near Warrington.
St Wilfrid, Mobberley, Cheshire and the Church Inn.
MAY 4 Report on the visit Church of St Mary & St Barlok, plus the Manor House, Norbury near Ashbourne
Our second trip this year took us to Norbury which is on the south side
of Ashbourne. When we arrived at the Church we were greeted with
refreshments. The Church, well hidden from the road, has a fine
14th-century chancel and its 15th-century tower and nave fills the eye.
The form of the Church is curious with a tower rising over the South
Porch. The tower is flanked on each side by an aisle and clerestory
bay, such that the whole South aspect of the Church looks like a
deliberately symmetrical composition. To the East is a magnificent
decorated chancel of which the patron, Nicholas Fitzherbert, was most
proud. The nave is modest. In the nave floor is a Saxon shaft carved,
most unusually, with a human figure blowing a
The font is a good example of early English work, and is dated about
1200. It would have stood in an earlier Church, and so is older than
any of the structure which surrounds it today. In the South chapel is a
14th-century tomb chest bearing a Fitzherbert with crossed legs and a
sheathed sword. The glass in the windows is mostly original. The east
window recently restored, shows apostles, saints and Fitzherberts with
roughly equal status. The side windows are as yet unrestored and dirty
but will one day form the finest collection of glass in the county.
There are three bells in the tower and they can be chimed by one person
using their foot in a loop on the centre of the rope and another bell
rope in either hand they can also be turned to give a peal of bells.
When we came out of the Church we visited the Old Manor, which is in
the Church grounds. This was arranged by Dave Coson who had kindly
arranged our Church visit and who then had arranged with the
National Trust to open up the Old Manor House and to have a guide
for us. This Manor House belonged to the Fitzherbert family who had
done so much for the Church over many years.
After we had finished our busy morning we then travelled the four or
five miles to the Cock Inn in the village of Clifton where everyone had
an excellent lunch. To complete the day the weather was warm and sunny
JULY 6 Report on the visit Church of the Holy Cross at Ilam near Dovedale.
This is a lovely old church set in rolling Derbyshire countryside.
Eva, a church warden who is originally from Czechoslovakia but a
local resident for over 30 years, welcomed our party and gave us the
history of the church and the village.
There has been a church here since Saxon times, as evidenced by the
blocked off Saxon doorway in the East wall, the wonderful stone font
and the 10th century crosses in the churchyard. The church, given
to Burton Abbey in 1004, was restored and extended several times before
being seized by the Crown when Henry VIII broke with Rome and dissolved
the monasteries in 1540.
The whole estate was then given to the Port family who, together with
two other local squires, financed major church restoration work and the
rebuilding of St Bertram's Chapel in 1618. The Ports sold the
estate in 1809 to Jesse Russell who embarked on major changes to the
whole estate including the old hall and the village. Since then
the estate has had several owners and it was finally given to the
National Trust in 1935 and they lease the hall to the YHA.
The church which had its last major restoration in 1855, contains many interesting and beautiful items including:-
• St Bertram's tomb reputed to have been for the
son of an 8th century Mercian king who renounced his Royal heritage and
devoted himself to prayer and meditation after losing his wife and
child to wolves.
• The octagonal mausoleum on the north side
containing the life sized white marble memorial to David Pike Watts,
the father of Jesse Russell's wife.
• The 17th century alabaster tomb of Robert
Meverell and his wife (one of the two other local squires who helped
the Port family restore the church in 1618).
• Stained glass windows which added their rich
hues to a general colour scheme of deep reds, greens and gold, the
beautiful east window shows some of the Stations of the Cross.
• Two Maidens Garlands which hang over the
entrance to St Bertram's Chapel. They were made of paper by
friends and family of deceased unmarried and often young women, then
carried at their funerals and later hung over their pews. The
custom largely died out about 200 years ago.
• A small Hill organ was given to the church in
1860 and, having tried it out, was confirmed as still in tune by one of
our members. The organ pipes were wonderfully painted in a
multicoloured swirling design.
Leaving this fascinating church at about 12.15pm, we found our way to
the Bluebell Inn on the main Ashbourne / Buxton road where we all
enjoyed some liquid refreshment and a meal. Many thanks to Paul
Kenneth for once again organising a most enjoyable day.
Mike and Margaret Snape
SEPT 7 Report on the visit ST.WILFRID'S CHURCH, GRAPPENHALL, Near WARRINGTON
What an agreeable surprise it was to find that the Church at
Grappenhall is situated in a picturesque old world village, complete
with cobblestones, village stocks, and two pubs in close proximity!
On arrival we were greeted by two of the Churchwardens, Gordon Berry
and John Bygate, who, betweem them, were able to give us a very
comprehensive history of the Village and Church.
The original Church, founded in the 12th century, was of quite
primitive form with a hard earth floor. Later, the Boydell
Chapel was added as a memorial to members of that family, and that is
how the Church remained for 400 years, until in the 16th century, north
and south aisles, a chancel and a tower were added.
The last major reconstruction was in the 19th century, during which an
ancient font was discovered buried some three feet below the floor of
the nave. Now restored and remounted, it is in use today.
In the Church can be seen a 12th century primitive parish chest, the
ancient stocks, and a beautifully carved pulpit. There is
an extremely rare stained glass window, with mediaeval glass
incorporated, situated in the Boydell Chapel, and this, we were told.
is internationally famous.
The sandstone used to build the Church gives it a warm and welcoming
look, and the Reredos, carved in oak and depicting the Last Supper, is
Outside, the Church tower bears a carving of a grinning cat, which may
possibly be the inspiration for the Cheshire Cat featured in Alice in
After such an interesting morning, a very short stroll took us to the Ram's Head to enjoy our lunch.
Thanks once again to Paul for finding us another hidden gem to visit.
P.S. The recommendation came from the walking group - Editor