Building record MDR6324 - Holy Cross Church, Upper Langwith

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

There was a church in Langwith as early as the reign of Henry II (1154-1169). The present church is dedicated to St Helena, although it is ascribed by some modern directories to the Holy Cross. It is a small building, consisting of a nave, chancel, and south porch, with a small tower, or rather bell turret, at the west end. Its architectural features span the four different styles usually attributed to English churches. Inside are two plain round archways, which are of the early Norman period, indicating that there was church here prior to the reign of Henry II. One of the archways also indicates that there was a west tower present in the original Norman design, with the archway opening out in to it. The chancel appears to have been rebuilt in the Early English period in the 13th century. There are some Decorated-style windows inserted later, circa 1320. The high-pitched oaken roof and the south porch also appear to be of this date. A Perpendicular-style window is situated in the south wall of the nave. The present west end of the church, which is surmounted by a small square tower, appears to have been built at this time also. It contains two small bells, both of which bear the name of Hedderley, the Nottingham bell-founder, and the date 1772. Inside the church, in a recess in the south wall of the chancel, is a coffin-shaped incised slab that is thought to date to the early 13th century, and probably commemorates an ecclesiastic. (1) The church at Upper Langwith is an ancient structure, dating from Norman times, but was considerably restored and enlarged in 1878, under the direction of the architect Norman Shaw, Esq. The west gallery was removed, the tower taken down, and the nave lengthened one bay in that direction. The chancel was also extended and widened, and an organ chamber and vestry were added. A bell turret was substituted for the tower, and contains two bells. The interior was entirely re-seated and re-furnished. In the churchyard is a coffin-shaped slab, formerly in the south wall of the chancel, bearing an incised cross, chalice, and book. The church was re-consecrated in September 1878, and the dedication was changed from St Helen to Holy Cross. (2) There is a mutilated scratch dial on the east side of the south door, inside the porch. The dial comprises four lines; the noon line measures five inches, and there are two lines to the east and one to the west, all of which are joined by part of a circle. (3) Holy Cross Church has a nave and chancel, but no tower. The chancel dates to the 13th century. The south porch has big pinnacles, and is vaulted inside with transverse arches. Most of the windows are Perpendicular. Inside is a small, simple bronze Censer, which dates to the 15th century. (4) In normal use [1966]. (5) A parish church dating to the 13th and 14th centuries, with restoration work carried out in 1877 by Norman Shaw. It is built of coursed rubblestone and ashlar, and has a lead roof and stone coped gables with gabletted kneelers. The nave and chancel are in one. There is also a south porch and north vestry. The south side of the church has a deep gabled porch with a parapet and a string course at the base of the parapet. The church has diagonal buttresses and pinnacles, with additional buttresses to the side. It has a moulded, depressed four-centred arched doorway, with a small four-centred arched window above. Inside, the porch has a pointed stone tunnel vault with three chamfered transverse ribs. There are stone seats on either side. There is an off-centre south doorway with a chamfered surround and lintel, but which is round-arched within. The nave roof has moulded cambered tie beams with cusped braces. There is a 19th century double-chamfered chancel arch with a low stone screen. There is also a 19th century octagonal font, and a 19th century wooden pulpit with linenfold panels, set on a stone base. There is also a 19th century font and a 19th century pulpit, which are by Shaw. See list description for more details. (7)

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J. 1875. Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol. I. pp 267-70.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Bulmer, T and Co.. 1895. History, Topography and Directory of Derbyshire. p 90.
  • <3> Article in serial: Fisher, F. 1935. 'Derbyshire Scratch Dials', Derbyshire Archaeological Journal. Volume 56, pp 31-43. p 38.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1953. The Buildings of England: Derbyshire, 1st edition. p 348.
  • <5> Personal Observation: F1 JB 09-JUN-66.
  • <6> Index: NDAT. 1750. 1750.
  • <7> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England. Ref: 79318.



Grid reference Centred SK 5187 6933 (25m by 16m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR923

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Record last edited

Jun 12 2017 4:38PM

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