Norbury, St Mary and St Barlok, Derbyshire ***

“The effigies are superb works of Midlands alabaster. Every detail is immaculate, even the fingernails and strands of hair…In the nave floor is a Saxon shaft.”






Ashbourne, St Oswald, Derbyshire ****

“Queen Charlotte was said to have broken into tears on seeing the statue (of Penelope Boothby, dead at age 5) at a Royal Academy exhibition. Evincing such a reaction was regarded as a challenge to late-Georgian sculpture.”

Ashbourne also contains my favourite of any stained glass window in England, the The Turnbull Window, commemorating the death of two young sisters, Monica and Dorothea Turnbull, a splendid work of spiritual and artistic vision.




Ault Hucknall, St John, Derbyshire, *

“Embedded in the outside of its west wall is a Norman arch and tympanum so indistinct that it could depict either a centaur or St Margaret emerging from the dob of the Devil.”





Ashover, All Saints, Derbyshire, *

“Thomas Babington, who died in 1518, lies on a tomb outside the chancel. The effigies are painted and rest their heads on tasselled cushions. Below is a superb carved chest, with ogee canopies and weepers intact.”



Chesterfield, St Mary and All Saints, Derbyshire, ***

“Chesterfield is universally known for its twisted spire, the most famous architectural distortion north of Pisa…One theory is that the Devil rested on his way from Sheffield to Nottingham, another that a virtuous maiden sent the spire wild with admiration…A less romantic theory holds that lead plates laid herringbone over unseasoned timber led the wood to twist but not snap under the weight. The structure turned and sank, but then ‘set’ without collapsing. It lasted from the 14th century to the 19th when it was declared unsafe and experts advised demolition. Rubbish, said the citizens of Chesterfield and merely strengthened it.”




Whitwell, St Lawrence,Derbyshire, *

“The church is a friendly structure set in a sloping churchyard.”


Steetley, All Saints, Derbyshire, *

This is a real medieval storybook church, but with the sun going down, I had real trouble capturing it’s charm, and unfortunately, it was closed for the winter. “A Norman survivor, albeit much restored.”


Tideswell, St John, Derbyshire, ***

“The church’s glory is its woodwork, which dates from all periods. There are medieval misericords, Victorian and 20th century carvings of the highest quality.”


Youlgreave, All Saints, Derbyshire, **


Bakewell, All Saints, Derbyshire, ***

“Bakewell is a jolly Peak District town built of the blackest stone. The church tower rises over the town, pinning it to the dale as if fearful that the Devil might steal it in the night.”

A mausoleum commemorating the Vernons of Haddon Hall, “kings of the Peaks.”

“Including a baby which died at birth and looking remarkably smug.”