Building record MDR4512 - Cathedral Church of All Saints, Derby

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Derby was formerly a centre of some ecclesiastical importance; two of the six churches recorded in the 11th century were collegiate; All Saints, now the cathedral, and St Alkmund [see SMR 32003; now demolished]. Both were pre-Conquest foundations, but nothing of early date has yet been discovered at All Saints. All Saints, as is now stands [1961], consists of a great 18th century rectangular church with a late medieval west tower. The age and style of the preceding building is not definitely known, though a 17th century sketch indicates roughly the form. Accounts show that the earlier west tower was demolished after 1475, presumably to make way for the large and elaborate one now standing, which was under construction in the early 16th century. The rest of the church was rebuilt in the early 18th century and opened in 1725. Outside, the building remains largely unaltered, except for the addition in 187304 of a vestry on the east end. Inside, the walls were painted in imitation of stone, possibly a repainting, and later in the century some alterations were made. All Saints is an arcaded hall church, with piers of the Roman Doric order supporting arches and plaster tunnel vaulting over the nave and groined vaulting over the aisles. Early monuments contained within include a 15th century incised slab to John Lawe, sub-dean; an early 15th century timber effigy of a priest; and the great standing wall-monument of 'Bess of Hardwick', 1608, which came from the old church. (2) The church of All Saints has a pre-conquest collegiate foundation and became a cathedral in 1927. The present church dating from 1723-5 by James Gibbs, has a three-storeyed, 16th century west tower decorated with friezes, canopies etc. The body of the church has large, round headed windows separated by coupled pilasters and is crowned by a balustrade. An eastern extension was built in 1967-72. (4) A grade I listed Cathedral; formerly the Collegiate Church but raised to Cathedral status when the diocese of Derby was created in 1927. The fine, tall, late Perpendicular stone west tower remains from the original early 16th century church but the body of the present building of circa 1725 is a good classical design by James Gibbs. There are five semi-circular headed windows at each side with characteristic Gibbs rustication and with coupled pilasters between the balustraded parapet. It has a fine spacious interior comprising broad nave aisles, chancel chapels, gallery and organ loft at the west end. The east end was extended in 1972 by addition of retro-choir designed by Sebastian Comper, which contain a classical style baldachino. There are splendid wrought iron screens, partly renewed and restored, across nave and aisles, the work of William Bakewell. There is modern stained glass in the chancel chapel windows by Ceri Richards. See list description for more details. (5) In 1978 it was decided to convert part of the Cavendish family's burial vault into a chapel. The vault had been built in 1607 for the Duchess of Shrewsbury (Bess of Hardwick), and was in use until c. 1848. (6) Body of church appears low compared with the 16th century work. Large west door. Bishops throne in 18th century, apparently from Asia Minor. (7) Wrought Iron Screen, All Saints Cathedral. Exceptional ironwork by esteemed local ironsmith Robert Bakewell c.1724, made in his works in Oakes Yard. Additional screens across the side aisles added c.1900. At entrance to Cathedral is a fine pair of wrought iron gates also by Bakewell c.1724 They were made for St Mary's Gate House, demolished 1930s. Gates relocated here in 1960s. (8) This paper describes the recording at Derby Cathedral of the Cavendish family vault. It discusses the problems of identification and the typology of lead coffin forms, and it concludes with a consideration of the wider priorities for the archaeological recording and conservation of ecclesiastical archaeology. The vault contains 44 coffins and 2 burial drums. (9) Of pre-Conquest collegiate foundation, this church was raised to Cathedral status in 1927. The tower was finished in 1532, the second highest in England. The light and spacious Baroque nave was designed by James Gibbs, a pupil of Wren, and built by Francis Smith of Warwick in 1723-5. There is a magnificent chancel screen in wrought iron, gates and other works by Robert Bakewell, England's finest native-born smith. There are fine monuments inside the Cathedral by a number of important sculptors. (10) All Saints Church, now Derby Cathedral, was designed by Gibbs, constructed 1723-25 under the supervision of Francis Smith of Warwick, and built by Derby man William Trimmer, whose brother Thomas undertook all the superb joinery inside. (11) 'Having a beautiful Gothic Tower, erected in the Reign of Queen Mary: It is 60 Yards high, a square Tower with 4 Pinacles: The Church was rebuilt, except for the Tower…it has one of the Countess of Cavendish, who finished the first first Model of Chatsworth-house and founded and endowed a Hospital near the Church.' (12) The bells of the cathedral are historically significant. The full collection of ten date between circa 1520 to the 18th century. The oldest was made by R II Seliok of Nottingham. The majority of the group were founded in the 17th century by G Oldfield of Nottingham and W Noone also of Nottingham. The 18th century bell was founded by Im Halton of Wingfield. (13)

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J C. 1879. Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol IV. pp 69-101.
  • <2> Article in serial: Dufty, A R. 1961. 'Derby Cathedral', in the Archaeological Journal. Vol 118, pp 233-4, illust..
  • <3> Personal Observation: F1 FRH 29-NOV-66.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1979. The Buildings of England: Derbyshire. 2nd ed., revised. pp. 167-8.
  • <5> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. List entry number 1228277.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Morris, R (CBA). 1978. Bulletin of the Council for British Archaeology Church Commission, 8, 1978. Vol 8, pp 7-9.
  • <7> Index: Trent & Peak Archaeological Trust (TPAT). Trent & Peak Archaeological Trust Index: 2522. 2522.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: Fowkes, D (ed.). 2003. Derbyshire Industrial Archaeology. A Gazetteer of Sites. Part VII. City of Derby.. p 11.
  • <9> Article in serial: Butler, L (University of York) & Morris, R (CBA). 1994. 'Derby Cathedral: The Cavendish Vault', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 114, pp 14-28. fig. 1, Plates 1-4.
  • <10> Bibliographic reference: Derby Civic Society. 2004. Derby Heritage Buildings.
  • <11> Article in serial: Craven, M. 2007. 'Surviving Georgian Derby', Derby Civic Society Newsletter. No. 85, pp 36-39. p 38.
  • <12> Bibliographic reference: Martin, B. 1765. The Natural History of Derbyshire.
  • <13> Unpublished document: Church of England. 2007. Identification of bells and bell frames of historic significance.



Grid reference Centred SK 3523 3650 (67m by 32m) (Centre)

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Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR1484

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Record last edited

Dec 21 2018 9:27AM

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