Skip to main content

Listed Building record MDR5891 - St Helen's Church, Pinxton

Type and Period (1)

  • (Medieval to Second World War - 1200 AD to 1939 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

The Church at Pinxton, dedicated to St. Helen, consists of a chancel and nave with west porch, built about 1755. On the south side of the chancel is a fragment of the old church with the tower. A modern archway leads from the south side of the chancel into a small chapel which has a small lancet window and stone bracket of the Early English period of the 13th century. The tower is oblong and is of later date than the Early English as is shown by the Decorated tracery of the pointed east window. The upper part of the tower, although composed of old materials, has been rebuilt. There is no reason to doubt that there was an independent benefice at Pinxton as early as the thirteenth century…'. (1) The remaining fragment of the former Pinxton Church which was mainly taken down about 1750 originally formed the south transept. The first alteration in this transept, seems to have been made about 1460, when a wall was built across the interior from east to west to form a sacristy in the southern section. About 1600, the walls of this section were raised to form a tower. The stone courses of the lower part of the tower are contiguous to the work to the north. (2) The church is in use for public worship. A type-written notice in the porch gives the date of the first rector as 1299, describes the tower as late Norman, mentions the 1750 restoration and states that a north aisle was added in 1939. (3) No change. (4) The Church of St Helen is a Grade II listed building. It is a parish church, with a 13th century tower and chapel, a nave and chancel of 1750, and with a north aisle and vestry added in 1939. (5) Of the medieval church only the unbuttressed 13th century west tower and the very beginning of the nave remain (on the north side one small lancet window). On the south side of the tower a two-light Decorated window has been incongruously inserted. (The top half of the tower was rebuilt in 1897). In 1750 a large church was built at right angles to the old one, with arched windows and a plain Venetian east window. To this in 1939 an aisle and a porch were added. (7) There was a church here at least as early as the 13th century, but the only remaining parts are the lower unbuttressed half of the rectangular tower and the adjacent beginning of the nave. A Decorated two-light window (c. 1290-1350) has been inserted off-centre in the east wall of the tower. Other alterations are suggested by a record of about 1710 that the tower 'seems to have been builded at different times'. The original dedication was to St John the Evangelist, but after the mid-16th century it was known simply as Pinxton church. In either 1750 (Pevsner) or 1755 (Shooter) a new and larger nave was erected to the north-west, with the medieval tower forming the end of the south transept. The beginning of the old nave apparently became the chancel with a new three-light east window. There was a gallery at the west end and a west porch was added. The medieval masonry was probably re-used and the church was re-dedicated to St Helen. In 1897 the upper half of the tower was rebuilt and two buttresses added to the lower half. In 1939 there was drastic reconstruction. This included the rebuilding of the nave, something which had not been appreciated in earlier descriptions of the church. At the same time the church was enlarged by a north aisle and a projecting baptistry was built at the west end. Before constructing the north aisle it was necessary to level the area by removing up to 0.5m from the rising ground to the north. In 1970 a new vestry was built in the north-east angle of the church. (9, 10)

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J. 1875. Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol. I. pp 303-7.
  • <2> Article in serial: Kerry, C. 1897. 'Gleanings from the Assize Rolls for Derbyshire Preserved in the Record Office, London' Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 19. pp 119-21.
  • <3> Personal Observation: F1 WW 07-JUL-59.
  • <4> Personal Observation: F2 FRH 27-JUN-66.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: DOE Listed Bldgs Dist of Bolsover Derby 23 Mar 1989 70.
  • <6> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1979. The Buildings of England: Derbyshire. 2nd ed., revised. p 299.
  • <7> Index: NDAT. 2144. 2144.
  • <8> Bibliographic reference: Shooter, J. 1996. St Helen's Church, Pinxton: A short history and guide.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Sumpter, T. 2006. St Helen's Church, Pinxton, Derbyshire: Archaeological Watching Brief.



Grid reference Centred SK 4534 5501 (21m by 17m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

  • EDR873
  • EDR1435
  • EDR2259

Please contact the HER for details.

External Links (0)

Record last edited

Sep 10 2020 11:10AM

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.