Building record MDR4676 - St Mary's Church, Church Street, Denby

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Denby ... 'Church, or chapel, which is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, consists of nave, aisles, south porch, chancel, and tower and spire at the west end'. The south arcade is late Norman, 'not earlier than the reign of Stephen'. From a description of the north arcade by Mr. Rawlings, 1825, ... 'there seems no reason to doubt, ... that this arcade was of Saxon origin'. Numerous alterations took place in 1838, including the removal of the north arcade. Much of the remaining work - including the chancel, tower and spire - is Decorated with some Perpendicular windows. (1) The church at Denby is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is an ancient edifice comprising chancel, nave, aisles, south porch, and a tower with a spire at the west end containing four bells. It underwent unsympathetic restoration work in 1838, when the north arcade was taken down and a gallery was erected. Another gallery was also built at the west end, blocking up the tower. A flat plastered ceiling was added, concealing the previous open timbered roofs, and all the ancient heraldic glass was destroyed. The two rounded arches of the south aisle are Norman. (2) Two of the bells in St Mary's are of historical significance. One by an unknown founder dates from circa 1400 and the other by H Dand of Nottingham dates from 1580. (3) Detailed account of history and architecture. The church was not mentioned in Domesday but there is a fragment of an 11th or early 12th century incised sepulchral cross in the lintel of the south belfry window. Saxon arches within the church are described by the Rev. R R Rawlins, in 1825, as two arches, 'cut out of the wall, like those on each side of the reading desk and pulpit in Repton Church, springing from a circular column with a square capital rudely sculptured and profusely whitewashed so as nearly to obliterate the design'. The church was extensively repaired in 1904. (4) The incised stone mentioned by Authority 4 is described as Saxon by Busby. (5) The church is in use for public worship (1959). It was not possible to see the 'incised sepulchral cross' in the tower. The 'Saxon' arches described by M Fryar (see source 4) might well be Norman. (6) St Mary's Church has a 14th century tower and nave, with a 15th century clerestory and two 13th century bays. Cox in 1879 noted that there was a chapelry included in the old parish of Horsley. A 1484 covenant concluded that 'vicars of Horsley had previously since time unintentional provided and paid (for) a resident priest at Denby'. (8) A grade I listed parish church dating to the early 13th, 14th, early 15th and late 15th centuries. Alterations were carried out in 1838 and restoration work in 1901-3 by J Oldrid Scott. It is built of brown rubble sandstone and grey ashlar sandstone with sandstone dressings. It has leaded and plain tile roofs, and embattled parapets with ridgeback copings to the nave and aisles. It comprises western tower with recessed broached spire, clerestoried nave with south aisle and two-storey north aisle, chancel and south porch. The three-stage 14th century ashlar west tower has full height stepped angle buttresses to all corners and reduces slightly at each stage. The octagonal spire above has gableted lucernes with trefoil headed lancets on four sides, near base and top. The north nave aisle has rubble stonework to its base and ashlar above. The south porch is an addition, probably of the late 15th century, and has a lapped stone roof over a pointed vault with a stone coped gable. The front elevation has a double chamfered arched door. The inner doorway, which is out of alignment with the porch, is a single chamfered arch. Above, the clerestory has three late 15th century three-light windows, with four-centred arched lights and incised spandrels. The interior of the church has a two-bay south arcade with early 13th century double chamfered semi-circular headed arches and semi-circular responds with moulded capitals and bases. The north aisle has a panelled wooden gallery on cast iron columns that was added in 1838, with a splat baluster staircase to the north-west corner. There is a well-restored late 15th century nave roof with central painted bosses to the cambered ties. The chancel roof has a 19th century pointed timber vault with ribs. In the chancel is a fine 14th century double sedilla with moulded ogee arches, topped by flame finials and an attached piscina in similar style to east side. The choir stalls and reredos are 19th century, whilst the nave pews and pulpit look contemporary with the restoration. To north side of chancel is an impressive architectural early 17th century alabaster monument to Patrick Lowe, who died 1616. A substantial amount of paint is still evident. There are also several other Lowe memorials in the chancel, mostly in black slate with white marble. These include one of c. 1785, one of c. 1827 and another later one of c. 1887. The font in the south aisle is 15th century and looks like part of a re-used pier. The church has various stained glass windows, the main one in the east window by Warrington and Co of c. 1889. Fragments of medieval glass have been placed in one of the north gallery windows. See list description for more details. (9) A watching brif carried out in 2006 syggested that the north aisle had been added c.1450. (10)

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J C. 1879. Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol IV. pp 248-54.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Bulmer, T and Co.. 1895. History, Topography and Directory of Derbyshire. pp 578-9.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Church of England. 2007. Identification of bells and bell frames of historic significance.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Fryar, M. 1934. Some Chapters in the History of Denby.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Busby, C. 1946. A Simple Guide to Denby Parish Church.
  • <6> Personal Observation: F1 WW 14-OCT-59.
  • <7> Personal Observation: F2 BHS 22-SEP-66.
  • <8> Index: Trent & Peak Archaeological Trust (TPAT). Trent & Peak Archaeological Trust Index: 2534. 2534.
  • <9> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. List entry number 1109129, Original UID: 78783.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Baker, S (ARCUS). 2008. Archaeological Monitoring at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Denby, Derbyshire.



Grid reference Centred SK 3986 4649 (26m by 18m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR4909
  • EDR1092
  • EDR1319

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Record last edited

Mar 3 2020 5:15PM

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