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Monument record MDR646 - St Mary Magdalen's Chapel (site of), Chapel Brow, Charlesworth

Type and Period (1)

  • (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1350 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Full Description

'Independent Church on site of ST. MARY MAGDALEN'S CHAPEL' is marked on the 1st edition 25" OS map. (1) The Independent chapel at Charlesworth with a date stone reading "C.C.1797" (see SMR 3607): it contains no trace of the chapel of St Mary Magdalen, which was erected in the early 14th century by the monks of Basingwerk. (2) In 1308 Robert de Charlesworth gave to the Abbot of Basingwerk 80 acres of arable land at Charlesworth. In consequence of this gift, the abbot established a grange here, in which resided one or more monks of the order, whose duty it was to look after the interests of the monastery. He also erected a chapel, dedicated to St Mary Magdalen, which was probably at first served by one of the monks from the grange. On 1329 the abbot obtained the royal permission to establish a yearly fair at Charlesworth to be held on the festival of the patron saint of the chapel. In the early part of the reign of Henry VIII, a chantry was founded in the chapel by William Wolley of Riber, in the parish of Matlock, who left certain lands in Chesterfield, Newbold, Tapton and Dronfield to provide a priest to say mass for his soul. However, in the second year of Elizabeth, the land was taken from the chapel and conferred on Sir George Howard. The chapel also appears to have been transferred with the land to the Howard's, and as they remained firm in their attachment to the old faith, it is probable that no effort was made either to preserve the fabric or to provide for the performance of the reformed service. The parliamentary commissioners of 1650 reported that the chapel was fit to be disused and the place united to Glossop; from which it would seem that it was then occasionally used for service, which at the time was Presbyterian. After the Restoration of the monarchy, the chapel was allowed to remain in the hands of the Presbyterians, who subsequently became identified with the Independents, and at a later period they became known as Congregationalists. In 1797 the chapel was entirely rebuilt, and not a trace of the original edifice now remains. (3) In normal use. No trace of the earlier chapel was seen; but topographically the modern church would appear to occupy the previous site. (4) The Monks of Basingwerke built a chapel in the hillside overlooking the village. It is reported that one or two monks resided here and through them, the village of Charlesworth flourished considerably. Like the parent monastery the Chapel was dedicated to St Mary Magdalene. The actual date of the building of the first chapel is uncertain, but in the Taxiti of Pope Nicholas 1291, there is a reference to the 'Chapel at Chelesworth', and so it is thought to have been erected prior to this date. There is very little account of the period prior to the Reformation; however, it is known that the Chapel passed into the possession of the Anglican Church and is described as a 'chapel-of-ease to Glossop'. Because of its remoteness to Glossop and the fact that the Lord of the Manor still adhered to the Ancient Faith, there was no real need for such a building. During this period, therefore, the building fell into decay due to lack of usage. It is probable that the Chapel served its purpose as a secret meeting place for those who still believed in the forbidden faith, and who met to hear mass read by a disguised priest. This, however, is only conjecture, but in the early part of the 17th century, according to T J Hosken, the Chapel is described as 'a place fit to be disused'. In 1662, William Bagshaw was ejected from his living at the Vicarage of Glossop, but he was determined to practice his beliefs in secret, by holding meetings in people's homes and preaching in various chapels and churches in the area, one of which was the Charlesworth Chapel. While these illegal services were taking place, men were placed at strategic points in the village to raise the alarm at the first approach of enemies. The present building was built by public subscription and was opened on 18th July 1798 (see SMR 3607). (5)

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey (OS). 1882. OS County Series, 1st edition, scale 1:2500 (c. 25" to one mile).
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Cox, J C. 1877. Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol. II. pp 205-7.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Bulmer, T and Co.. 1895. History, Topography and Directory of Derbyshire. pp 151-2.
  • <4> Personal Observation: F1 JB 18-AUG-65.
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Fullarton, J (Charlesworth Heritage Group). 1985. Just a Glimpse of Charlesworth. pp 29-31.



Grid reference Centred SK 0105 9276 (79m by 81m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR1200

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Record last edited

Dec 3 2010 1:19PM

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