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Monument record MDR12607 - St Alkmund's churchyard (site of), Derby

Type and Period (2)

  • (Saxon to Post Medieval - 900 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Stuart to Victorian - 1700 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

In Derby Museum are three stones which were brought from St Alkmund's churchyard, and have been said to belong to the same cross, but they were later shown to belong to three separate monuments. The first piece seems to have been hacked out of a shaft of slab-like proportions, ie thin in proportion to its width. On one side is an animal having his hind-quarters rolled into a spiral and his body ornamented with scales. On the opposite face is a less conventionalised animal, but the stone is too defaced to any greater understanding. The second piece must have formed part of a very fine cross. It is decorated on all four faces, and includes various animals and a bird. Its date is suggested to be c. 950. The third piece is part of a hog-back; these generally took the form of a little house with upward-curving ridge and, at either end, a bear climbing up the gable. It is thought to be 11th century. Two further stones are in the church, found when the old church was destroyed in about 1848. (1, 2) The three best examples of the above stones have been renovated and are on display in Derby Museum. They are typically Saxon. (3) Cox records a cross shaft in the churchyard, by the vestry door, which was found in the foundation of the chancel. It was a massive tapering stone, 6ft 6in long by 27in at the head and 17in at the foot and 10in thick. The upper surface was smooth but both sides were carved with a plain arcade of Norman arches. Also, with regard to the churchyard, in 1738 a parish meeting ordered that a letter should be written to the Bishop, representing "that the Trees lately planted by Mr Cantrell in the Churchyard very much darken the Church and straiten the Burying Ground, and that the other trees are got so large that Rooks build in them and are a great nuisance to the inhabitants in the Churchyard and the people that pass through it being a great thorofair…." As a result it was directed that three elm trees on the west side of the church, four on the south and two on the east should be "lopped cutt and crop'd" in such a manner as to prevent them being rookeries; and that the twenty lime trees on the south side, planted a few years before by Mr Cantrell, should be taken up with as little damage as possible and "delivered to the Vicar if he would have them, and otherwise to apply them to any parochial use". (4) An archaeological watching brief was carried out in 2009. During the groundworks related to the re-landscaping of the land west of the Jurys Inn Hotel and next to King Street, three brick-lined graves were revealed. In addition to this, four in situ articulated burials, six disarticulated incomplete burials and elements of 22 adults and at least seven immature individuals were also recovered. Despite moderate disturbance, the burials were found to be in a fairly good state of preservation, particularly within the lower levels of the land. Most of the burials were within graves and/or coffins. They were all on an east-west alignment. The date of the inhumations was determined from the coffin fittings, which gave a date of the 18th to 19th century. The graves survive c. 500 mm below the present ground surface and it was considered that the graveyard has the potential to remain intact elsewhere. (5)

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Article in serial: Routh, T. 1937. 'A corpus of the pre-Conquest carved stones of Derbyshire', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 58, pp 1-46.
  • <2> Index: TPAT. 2568. 2568.
  • <3> Personal Observation: F1 FRH 30-NOV-66.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J C. 1879. Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol IV. pp 122-123.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Mora-Ottomano, A, A Tinsley, A Thornton and H Willmott (ARS Ltd). 2010. Archaeological Watching Brief at the Jurys Inn Hotel, King Street, Derby.



Grid reference Centred SK 3514 3671 (51m by 60m)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR2796

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

Nov 16 2017 10:26AM

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