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Listed Building record MDR4516 - St Mary's Bridge Chapel, Derby

Type and Period (7)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

SK 3533 3675 'ST. MARY's CHAPEL [GT] (remains of)' appears on the Ordnance Survey map of 1963. (1) Built on St Mary's Bridge in the 14th, possibly the 13th century, corbelled out from the cut-water of the pier nearest the town. Late in the 14th or during the 15th century the chapel was evidently rebuilt on a much larger scale, the western portion of the new building probably providing a lodging for the priest or the 'hermit'. An inventory of 1488 suggests that the chapel was by then attached to the collegiate church of All Saints at Derby, and that there was both a priest and a hermit there. At some point, possibly at the Dissolution, ownership of the chapel was transferred to the town. In 1610 Speed described the building as 'a faire stone chappell', but in 1673 it was described as 'a once faire stone chappell', indicating that it had fallen into decay by that time. After the Restoration, the chapel is said to have been licensed for use by the Presbyterians, but this did not continue. By 1712 the chapel had been converted into 'poor dwelling houses'. During the 19th century it was used as a carpenters' shop, as a result of which almost the whole of the south wall was rebuilt in brick, with large windows and a door with steps down to the yard. The yard itself, probably the orchard and garden referred to in 1592, was used as a boiler and engineering works. It came back into ecclesiastical use in the later 19th century, being licensed by the Bishop of Lichfield on Sept. 17 1873. However, it was again abandoned and stood derelict until it was acquired by the Derbyshire Archaeological Society in c. 1930, when it was restored. It was found to measure c. 45ft by 14ft 4ins inside, with walls about 17ins thick, and with evidence of a newel stair in the south-west angle. Several stones were found with sunk tracery panels, assumed to have come from a decorated parapet. The removal of the floor revealed that during its period of use for dwellings it had been divided into three tenements. The south wall was reconstructed from the window sills upwards in stone obtained from the neighbouring Exeter Bridge which was being demolished at the time when the chapel was being repaired in 1930. (2) The 14th/15th century work is visible. The church is still in normal use [1966]. (4) St Mary's Chapel, a 14th century stone building with brick and tile restoration work originally standing on a contemporary bridge of which part of an arch remains. Grade I. (See SMR 18912 for St Mary's Bridge). (5-6) In 1360 Bishop Robert de Stretton issued a licence to the Guardians of the Bridge 'for celibration in the Chapel on the Bridge for two years'. The building which was repaired c. 1932 as a memorial to the Haslam family, was used as a factory in the 17th century. (7) The bridge was descheduled in 1985. (8) A description of Derby in 1720 notes the following about the bridge chapel: 'The River Derwent waters the East Part of the Town with a full and brisk Stream, passing water under a fair Stone-Bridge, on which stands a Chapel, anciently a neat Building, and dedicated to St. Mary; but in the Time of King Charles II, when he granted a Toleration to Dissenters, it was a little repaired, and turned into a Meeting-house for a time, but now is new built, and converted to a Dye-house'. (9) In 1694 the chapel was taken over as a hosiery workshop, and the attached house was built by the master, Richard Eaton, for his own residence. (10) St Mary's on the Bridge Chapel and Bridge Chapel House. House with attached chapel. The chapel is multi-phase with stone walls originating in the 13th century and corbelled out of the cutwater of one of the early bridge piers. It was rebuilt in the 15th century , providing a lodging for a priest. By 1712 the Chapel had been converted into poor dwelling houses, combining the brick house, with coped gables and large chimney stacks (late 17th century origins). (11) St Mary's Bridge Chapel is a 14th century chapel somewhat restored, originally standing on a contemporary bridge, of which part of an arch remains. The south elevation has a timber framed gable over a 15th century stone mullioned window with modern leaded lights. The original building was of stone, but some restoration is in brick with tile slips, there is an old tile roof. The interior is small and aisleless. There is a modern incised slate tablet on the north side recording the names of 3 Catholic priests who on 24th July 1588, suffered martyrdom for their faith near this place. (12) The Chapel of St Mary-on-the-Bridge is a mainly 15th century stone chapel that still rests on an arch of the original medieval bridge [SMR 18912]. It replaces a chapel that is known to have existed two centuries before. Only five other medieval bridge chapels survive in the UK, with the remains of another at Cromford [see SMR 9708]. The chapel has been used as a non-conformist chapel, hosiery works, and joiners' shop, before its revival in the 1870s and restoration in 1930. In the care of a trust, it has regular services administered by Derby Cathedral. (13)

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1963. 1:1250 map.
  • <2> Article in serial: Currey, P.H.. 1931. 'The Bridge and Chapel of S. Mary at Derby', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 52, pp 57-79. with plan, photos.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: de Mare, E. 1954. Bridges of Britain. p 60.
  • <4> Personal Observation: F1 FRH 29-NOV-66.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: DOE (HHR) Boro of Derby Feb 1977 12.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1979. The Buildings of England: Derbyshire. 2nd ed., revised. p 172.
  • <7> Bibliographic reference: Jervoise, E. 1932. The Ancient Bridges of Mid and Eastern England. p 32-3.
  • <8> Unpublished document: HBMC Letter 30.4.85.
  • <9> Bibliographic reference: Cox, Rev. T. 1720. Magna Britannia or Topographical, Historical, Ecclesiastical and Natural History of Derbyshire.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Hutton, B. Derby Buildings Record. DBR 218, November 1997.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Morris, M (Mel Morris Conservation). 2004. Study to Identify Candidate Buildings for Grant Assistance and a Review of Conservation Area Boundaries, Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Gazetteer: 15-004.
  • <12> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. List entry number 1215878.
  • <13> Bibliographic reference: Derby Civic Society. 2004. Derby Heritage Buildings.



Grid reference Centred SK 3534 3675 (13m by 8m) Centre
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR3895
  • EDR1486
  • EDR103

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Record last edited

Feb 2 2024 4:35PM

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