Churches & Pubs
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 2012
on the date link for the report
St.Peters, Edensor, Derbyshire. Cancelled because of
All Saints Church, Gresford near Wrexham.
St.Giles at Great Longstone near Bakewell.
St.Nicholas, High Bradfield, S.E. of Sheffield.
St.Giles, Hartington, Derbyshire.
Saints Church, Siddington, Cheshire.
St.Peters, Hope, Derbyshire.
Report on the visit
Wednesday May 2nd, thirty seven U3A members crossed from
Wales to visit All
Saints Church in
Gresford, known as ‘The
finest parish church in Wales’.
The Reverend Tudor Hughes greeted us in English and Welsh to his
‘grand church’ in the Alyn Valley which serves a community
of six thousand. It is one mile from the English border and
services are held in English with one communion a month in Welsh.
All Saints was completed in the late 15th century but the Doomsday Book
mentions a church in Gresford (Gritford) in the eleventh century.
An inquisition was held on the site in 1332 and outside is the remains
of a thirteenth century buttress. The yew tree near the
south-east gate is over 1,600 years old.
The reason for such a large church in a small village is thought to be
because it was a place of pilgrimage but it is not clear what drew the
pilgrims. A sum of money was left for a velvet coat which may
have been for an important statue. In fifteen hundred there were
15 priests for 100 people! There was a passage behind the altar
which is thought may have been to help the procession of visitors.
The church has a bell tower and its peal is listed in a rhyme as one of
the seven wonders of Wales. Four new, lighter bells have been
added which have encouraged ladies and young people to ring.
Eight teenagers now take part.
The three-manual organ is considered to be cathedral standard and is
100 years old this year. To maintain quiet in the church the air
is pumped under the road from a house!
The interior of the church is very light. The great east window
was given by Thomas Stanley, Earl of Derby, the step father of Henry
V11. It contains some fine glass of the fifteenth century.
Three other windows include the figure of St Appolonia holding a tooth
in a pair of pincers. She is the patron saint of dentistry and
those suffering toothache.
Gresford is remembered for the colliery disaster in 1934 when 266 men
died. A painting commemorating this fills a semicircular recess
in the Trevor chapel.
The exterior of the church includes seven windows on the north and
south sides with flattened arches and hood moulds ending in carved
heads of animals and above them is a string course ornamented with
human faces, animals, and flowers. Thieves have stolen most of
the downspouts so temporary covers are in place and modern materials
will be used to replace them.
To complete the visit to Wales we retired to an enjoyable lunch at The
Griffin in the nearby village of Trevalyn.
Report on the visit
St. Nicholas’ Church
High Bradfield near Sheffield.
When we left High Lane it was raining. It
rained all the way
to High Bradfield but as soon as we arrived it stopped. We were made
Rev. Alan Isacson who gave us a very interesting talk on the history of
Church and the local area. This was done outside the Church with
view across the valley, while it stayed fine. We then moved
inside to have a look
round the Church.
A Christian Church has stood on this site for
900years and the present building is over 500years old. To the south
Bradfield where a Saxon cross was found, indicating a Christian place
worship in the area long before the first stone-built Church in
Until 1868 the Church of St. Nicholas, first built in 1109, was a
chapel-of-ease in the large parish of Ecclesfield. Behind the
stands the Watch Tower which was built, in1831, to combat
needed corpses for research in Sheffield’s recently founded
When you look at the roof the beams are remarkable for the 76
bosses date from
the late 15th century. In the porch there are re-used
sections of a
medieval coffin lid showing the shaft of a Calvary cross. Inside
on the south
side is a slate plaque which commemorates the Sheffield flood of 1864
nearby Dale Dyke Dam burst and 240 people were drowned.
An unusual feature of the chancel is the
sunken vestry which
once provided refuge for visiting priests who might have to stay the
during inclement weather. Most of the present furniture was
carved and fitted
by the Sheffield wood craftsman Arthur Hayfield and his daughter Clara,
late 19th century. After her father’s death
Clara continued the
carving, including the five intricate panels of the pulpit which depict
and the four Gospel writers with their symbols.
The medieval window contains fragments of
century glass with fine examples of ‘silver
staining’. It was put together
during a large re-ordering of the Church in the late 19th
The five bosses or balls on the Saxon cross are thought to
represent drops of
Christ’s blood similar to consecration crosses found on some
stone altars. The
plain Norman font is made of magnesian limestone and has a lead-lined
while the Tower houses a peal of eight bells.
A very enjoyable morning was followed by an
at The Old Horns pub in the village.
Report on the visit
We set off for Hartington [41 of us] on a glorious sunny day. On
the church we were met by our guide for the
morning, Chris Duledge. He was probably one of the best guides we have
had on Churches & Pubs. Everyone sat down in the church where Chris
spent 15-20 mins telling us about the history of Hartington Village and
the surrounding area. Then we had a short break for tea and coffee. He
then took us outside and talked about the church porch and the outside
of the church. He then gave the group a tour round the inside pointing
out all the many interesting parts.
The foundations of the present structure of the church were laid in the
early 13th century. The north wall of the chancel is the only part
remaining of this date, but the north transept and the detached shafts
at the east and west ends of the nave suggest that there was, later
that century, a cruciform “Early English Church” here. The
pitch of its steep roof can be seen by the groove in the east wall
In the early 14th century the south transept was remade and enlarged,
while later the same century, the south wall of the chancel was
rebuilt. The tower also dates from that period. In the15th century the
walls of the church were made higher, using the large semi-dressed
blocks of sandstone which can be seen where the plaster has been
removed in the nave. Later still a flat roof replaced the steep one and
the unmatching clerestory windows were made. This change brought the
ceiling down to the very top of the window arch in the south transept,
where the original carved bosses can be seen in the cross beams. The
porch, with its room above, dates from about 1450 and a little later
the square windows in the north aisle and in the chancel were
added, while finally in the Tudor period the north doorway, [now
bricked up] and only discernable from the churchyard, ended the long
years of building here in Hartington.
The north aisle pews are still known as the free seats recalling the
days when only the rich had pews and the church provided benches for
the poor who could not hire anything more comfortable. The old pews and
benches were removed by the Victorians because most of them were
After an excellent morning at the church we wandered down the hill into
the square of the village and descended on the Devonshire Arms for
lunch where the food was excellent.
An excellent day for weather, church and pub. Thanks again to Chris
from the church and Dale and her team from the pub.
Report on the visit
All Saints, Siddington.
What a delight to receive such a welcome from the ‘Corn Dolly
Man’. This must rate as one of our most entertaining and
enjoyable church visits.
Our guide Raymond Rush made us laugh and smile as he spoke so
enthusiastically about the church he has made his own, and decorated to
perfection with corn dollies of every shape and size. We were fortunate
to see the church fully decorated for harvest. It had been brought up
to date with Olympic rings, 60th Jubilee and a corn dolly clock.
He explained the significance of the corn and its importance in
So much to see and hold our interest. Built in 1521 (and maybe earlier)
with an original wattle and dawb and thatched roof. The roof was
replaced in 1700’s and a much heavier roof installed, which is
still there. The wooden pillars are made of solid oak. When it was
realised that the new roof was too heavy for the walls the wattle was
encased in local hand made bricks at a cost of £22-10-6d!
A recent addition in 1996 is the animal window to commemorate the
annual services held each June. I could go on and on but many of us
left saying we must come again. So why don’t you go too. The
church is always open.
Report on the visit
St Peter's Church, Hope,
A grey start to the day which gradually improved as we drove along
Rushup Edge. The ridge between the
Edale and Castleton valleys showed to perfection - Mam Tor, Back Tor
and Lose Hill, then Win Hill in the distance looking like a witch's
Hope village centre, with church, pubs, shops and cottages was bathed
in sunlight. St Peter's is a gritstone church, built in
perpendicular style in the 1300's (Chaucer's time). It has a
tower with a broach spire and quite a long chancel.
The site goes back to the Royal Hunting Forest of Saxon times and is
mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. They then had church,
priest and six hamlets. It is assumed the present building is on
the same site.
In the 16th century the roof was raised to let in more light hence the
clerestory and timber roof. In 1882, the then Vicar Henry
Buckston demolished the chancel interior without permission and was
required to make good so he recycled the box pews in the choir stalls,
put in a tiled floor, and there is some carving by the "mouseman".
The beautiful East window is a memorial and the others here are by
Kempe & Son, telling the story of the Holy Week.
There are many interesting things to see, including a Breeches' Bible
using one of the earliest translations from Latin and a fine pulpit
from around the same time, 1887.
Above the main door on the south side is a Parvise, originally a room
with a fire for the curate.
Outside are some fearsome looking gargoyles, remains of a market cross
and saxon cross stump from Eccles hill top. The new roof is
steel, not lead and sadly the church lost its silver during a Wakes
Week robbery in 2011.
Many thanks to the former vicar and church warden for their time, and
to Paul for this and all visits this year. We had a good and well
organised lunch and guess what? It was still a grey day when we
got home having enjoyed Peak District sunshine.