A Day in The Peak

AN ILLUSTRATED HANDBOOK TO
Bakewell Church, Haddon Hall, and Chatsworth

By Andreas Edward Cokayne

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013

BAKEWELL CHURCH.

Bakewell Church Page Header
Bakewell Church and Almshouses
Bakewell Church and Almshouses

THE Church of All Saints at Bakewell is conspicuously situated on the side of a steep hill, the houses clustering around and below it. Its cruciform outline is plainly discernible from neighbouring hill and valley, and its spire, rising from an octagonal tower, is a landmark in the prospect for miles around, and has a picturesque appearance from the railway on approaching the town from the south.

The shape of the church, though cruciform, is irregular, by reason of the great length of the south transept, which is nearly as long as the nave, and the shortness of the north transept which is actually the continuation of the north aisle, separated by a pointed arch. This north aisle has been made wider; in the Norman Church it was narrower, corresponding with the south aisle which was rebuilt on the Norman foundations. The length of the present church is about 150 feet, and it is about 105 feet across the transepts.

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The view from the church-yard, along the Haddon valley, is remarkably fine, especially from a point near the south transept door. The ground on which the church stands is 460 feet above sea level.

The very large number of existing slabs and monumental remains abundantly testify that there must have been a church here centuries before the Norman Conquest, but beyond these very antient remains, no traces of such fabric can be identified.

Looking at the exterior, the nave is obviously very much older than the other parts. Along the western front are the remains of a Norman interlaced arcade, now destroyed by the insertion of a window with decorated mullions and of a much later date, over the old Norman doorway, which, though dilapidated, like that in the north, bears evidence of its former beauty. This Norman west doorway is remarkable in its ornamentation; in fact the western front in Norman times must have been very fine. Inside the church we see what mischief was done (whether in the 1841 alterations or - very probably - earlier) by plastering the walls, cutting away the ornamental capitals, and levelling other decorations which usually adorned old Norman work, leaving plain round arches with nothing but their rude massiveness and squared edges; and this only in the western-most in each arcade, the others having given place to arches of wide-span and very peculiar design, corresponding in number with the former Norman arches.

It is probable that there were western towers in Norman times, though no record or proof of these remain, the broad heavy arches of the western wall leading to the

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idea that their strength was intended to support towers, which would obviously accord with the general plan and and style of the early building.

On the frieze over the clerestory windows of the nave on the south side are two shields of the Pype and Vernon arms in stone, outside.

We must not omit to notice the Early English north doorway, already alluded to, which deserves attention. It is of similar character to the south door-way, now enclosed within the porch - an addition to the original building.

The church was rebuilt very early in the twelfth century (circa 1100-1110); and we may safely conclude that it remained a Norman Church until 1250 or 1300, when the chancel was rebuilt. The Vernon Chapel was built about 1360; and was rebuilt in 1841. In order to admit the largest monument (that to Sir George and Lady Grace Manners) this south transept was then widened, an arrangement which very unfortunately obscures one half of one of the chancel windows, a defect noticeable alike inside and outside the church. The chancel has the remarkable and almost unique arrangement of having two eastern windows.

One of the old south transept (east) windows is rebuilt in a wall of Lomberdale House, near Bakewell, as also are many large and very quaint gurgoyles from the fabric of the old church, and other remains.

In the early building there was a much shorter chancel with an apsidal termination; indeed there is some reason to believe that the east end of both aisles was also apsidal. From what remains of this Norman work, and what is recorded of its antient style, we are justified in conjecturing

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that the church of that period was most probably similar to the very fine Norman Church at Melbourne, near Derby, one of the most remarkable examples of that style of church architecture. Frequently the same skilled workmen were employed in building churches in the same county or neighbourhood. This is again and again exemplified by particular designs and styles in stone work repeated in the same neighbourhood. I remember a lecture on Chester Cathedral, given by Dr. Howson - the late Dean, who was a good antiquary, and one who dearly loved his Cathedral - in the shade of which, in the cloisters, his simple grassy grave may be seen - his monument being the restoration of the Cathedral. I remember his comparison of some of its peculiar stone work and mullions with similar work in the old parish church of Astbury, in the same county, and his drawing the conclusion that both were executed by the same builders. So it may have been with Bakewell and Melbourne churches.

Parts of the Norman foundations in Bakewell church were found in laying the new floor of the chancel in 1881.

In the 4th vol. of the Royal Archaeological Institute Journal (1847) is a Paper by Rev. F.C. Plumptre, D.D., illustrated by drawings, including a ground plan of the church, showing in outline the Norman building, as it is supposed to have existed, and delineating the Norman, Early English, early and late Decorated portions. There are also illustrations of the Norman arcade in the early nave; of the south transept in 1841; and a quantity of the incised grave-stones and stone coffin-lids. This collection of sepulchral stones, now in the south porch, is very remarkable. They were found in the foundations

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Bakewell Church : South West View
Bakewell Church : South West View

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of the tower-piers, and north transept, as well as in the walls of both transepts, and in the foundations of the Vernon Chapel. It is probable, therefore, that many of them were put there at the rebuilding, about 1110, if not earlier, when they would be taken up from the grave-yard and used as building material. All these stones were, without doubt, originally placed in the church and church-yard, and their origin (like that of the cross) must date many years if not centuries earlier, before they were taken up, and built into the walls of the church, along with the rubble, as so many useful stones, but without intrinsic value to the builders; and where, as now related, they were discovered.

What a picture must the precincts of Bakewell church have presented in those far-off centuries, when these slabs covered the grave-yard around! and what a vivid reminder they afford us of the effect of the “inroads of the Danes” of which we read in history, running through the country smashing and despoiling as they went, and leaving such havoc behind them.

“Some years ago”, it is recorded in the Journal aforesaid, “the Norman tower-piers, which it was afterwards discovered were a mass of mere rubble in the interior without sufficient bond-stones, began to give way under the weight of the successive additions. The side walls could not sustain the pressure thus brought upon them, and after every expedient to stay the ruin had been tried in vain, by first taking off the spire in 1825, then the octagon tower in 1830, and by cramping together the walls, it was found necessary in 1841 to take down the whole of the remainder of the tower, and both the tower, and

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both the transepts, with the Vernon chapel. It was in the course of this work that the remains were discovered”.

“The larger and more interesting portion are the grave-stones or coffin-lids, with crosses of different devices cut upon them. They had evidently been used indiscriminately with other materials for the outer facing, as well as for the internal filling up of the wall, and especially in the foundations of the Tower-piers, and north transept. One had been cut to suit the outline of a half pillar, and mouldings of windows had been worked on the reverse side of others. Some time elapsed before these ancient grave-stones attracted notice, and many had in consequence been used again in the foundations of the new walls. Fortunately a considerable number have been saved”.

“It is believed to be by far the largest and most varied collection existing in any church in England; indeed not a third part of this number can probably be seen elsewhere; stone of them being probably unique examples, and very few, moreover, duplicates of the same design. But large as this number is, I was assured by the workmen” writes Dr. Plumptre, “that at least four times as many had been used in building the new walls. It will be borne in mind, that it has been shewn that all these are probably prior to circa 1260, and a considerable number prior to circa 1110”.

It should also be recorded that a large number of these slabs were removed by the late Mr. Bateman to his Museum at Lomberdale, which has since his death been transferred as a loan to Sheffield. There are a few inscriptions and many emblems on these stones. Some forty or more of them are engraved in Rev. E.L. Cutts'

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“Sepulchral Slabs and Crosses of the Middle Ages”, published in 1849. Instances of the various modes of interment in use during the middle ages, particularly in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, chiefly selected from Gough's work on Sepulchral Monuments, are related in a book of folio size, issued 1845, by Edward Richardson, sculptor: “The Ancient Stone and Leaden Coffins, Encaustic Tiles, etc. recently discovered in the Temple Church”. The instances given are arranged in four classes: stone coffins, leaden coffins, stone coffins inclosing lead, and miscellaneous.

It may be well, in the first place, to say something about those tombs and stones and fragments which were removed from the church, at the time of their discovery some fifty years ago.

Probably the oldest of these stones is a small tomb, three feet four inches long, coped in shape, and having strange figures and devices upon it. It is of Saxon date, and was found inside the walls of Bakewell church in 1842, and passed into the possession of the late eminent antiquary, Mr. Bateman, being now in his Lomberdale Museum lent to Sheffield. A drawing of it is in Dr. Cox's “Derbyshire Churches”, and in Mr. Bateman's “ Catalogue”. In the same collection are two other coped tombs of the eleventh century, found at the same time, but both imperfect. One imitates the overlapping slates of a roof with a roll upon its ridge; the other is transversely barred with the chevron pattern; each four feet four inches long. I derive the description of the foregoing, as I do the following, from Mr. Bateman's “Catalogue”. Portions of two monumental effigies in fine sandstone; the oldest is

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part of a figure, from the waist downwards covered with drapery, and having a sword-belt buckled on; the other is the upper part of a female figure in tight-fitting dress, with many small buttons at the wrists, holding the heart in the hand. The latter appears to have been one of those peculiar demi-figures in which the lower part was not sculptured out of the slab, and such as may be deemed the connecting link between the incised slab and the full effigy. There are also - a stone from the front of a monument, twenty-five inches long, carved with a shield suspended on a nail within a quatrefoil; a great variety of headstones, about fifty in number, mostly imperfect, ranging from the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries; casts in plaster from effigies and armorials on the monuments of the Vernon and Manners families; the head of a bear, in sandstone, of Saxon work; two trefoiled piscinas; and a corbel, a lion's head swallowing a female, of early work. A similar corbel may still be seen at Haddon Hall, over the Porch in the lower court-yard.

It is not improbable that Mr. Bateman was the means of preserving these very valuable stones, so little were they regarded, and so poorly their value estimated at that time, though it is a matter of regret now, that they have not been restored to the church. Mr. Bateman contributed illustrated papers on these sepulchral stones to the British Archaeological Association in 1847; (vide Journal v.2. p. 256, 303, etc). His “Descriptive Catalogue of the Antiquities and Miscellaneous Objects preserved in the Museum of Thomas Bateman at Lomberdale House, Derbyshire”, privately printed in 1855, is of great value and interest. I am indebted to the kindness of his son

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Mr. T.W. Bateman, of Middleton Hall, for a copy of this very scarce and unique book.

We will now mention those stones, etc. which remain at the church.

Another stone, also coped, and probably a coffin-lid, or at all events the upper stone of a tomb - now placed prominently on the left hand on entering the porch, is remarkable by reason of the inscriptions thereupon. The words along one side are: MORS NULLI PARENS, MORS PIETATI, which may be rendered “Death obeying no one, but is obedient to the worship of God, (or submits to piety)”. On the other side QUANTULA SINT HOMINUM CORPUSCULA - “How very small are the little bodies of men”; but to complete the sense of this the preceding words in the original (Juvenal) from which the legend is taken, should be read, “MORS SOLA FATETUR” - “Death alone owns”, &c. The foot of the tomb is broken, and very possibly the words “mors sola fatetur” were on the part broken off; if this be so, the suggestion of my friend Rev. J.E. Hewison, M.A., is rendered very probable, namely, that the word SUBEST might have followed the word “pietati”; then the translation would be “Death yielding to no man (or nothing) submits to devoted (or religious) love”. That this tomb-stone was once longer there is no doubt; the base (the three steps) of the cross, the stem of which runs the whole length down the centre, is gone; the cross patonce at the head is nearly perfect. The stone has been broken, too, very much along one side.

Dr. Wordsworth, (Bishop of Salisbury), when visiting the church, suggested that CARENS may have been the word following “pietati”, and wrote this distich

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How small men's bodies death alone reveals; Death that no master owns, no mercy feels.

Mr. Bateman in his “Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire”, says: “About the year 1817, in excavating near the church wall, in order to place an abutment, several stone coffins were dug up, one of them containing a body of a priest, or other ecclesiastic, with whom was deposited a leaden or pewter chalice and paten, and a few coins”. The stone coffins alluded to are reared against the eastern wall of the south porch, outside.

Near the east wall of the south transept, in the church-yard, stands the old Cross - undoubtedly one of the most interesting relics hereabouts - a witness of ten centuries or more. Mr. Bateman's description of it, written nearly forty years ago, is worth quoting here: “The ornaments and sculptured devices on the four sides of the shaft are much corroded by atmospheric action; on the front of the cross the figures appear to represent the birth, crucifixion, entombment, resurrection, and ascension; on the reverse is Christ entering Jerusalem upon an ass. These figures are indistinct, and antiquaries have differed in their interpretation of them. The decorations on the sides consist of foliage and knotwork of Saxon type”. What Mr. Bateman describes as the “front” of the cross is now facing west: the “reverse” in the above description faces the east. The exact measurements of the Cross are as follow: total height 7 feet 10 inches; height of shaft 6 feet 8 inches; the head-piece being 14 inches; the width 23 inches at the base, narrowing to 18 inches towards the top; the thickness (sides) 14 inches.

In the 8th volume of the Derbyshire Archaeological

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Society is a learned paper by Rev. G.F. Browne, B.D., on “Pre-Norman Sculptured Stones in Derbyshire, with rubbings, inter alia, of the Eyam and Bakewell crosses”. The author believes he identifies one of the fragments in the south porch as a portion of the long-lost head or an arm of the Bakewell cross. The stone here referred to is ornamented with knot-work. I believe, however, that there were no arms to this cross; if the ends be examined they will be round panelled, covered with scroll-work, and with a beading or incised moulding round the edges.

The Vicar of Ashbourne (Rev. Francis Jourdain, M.A). on an examination of the cross was struck by its similarity to a cross he discovered at Bradbourne, which has since been described and illustrated by Rev. Professor G.F. Browne, B.D. in the Archaeological Institute Journal, (v. xlv. p. 7). Mr. Jourdain pointed out to me that the animal at the top of the east front is intended for a squirrel, the mythical messenger between the gods and men. It is eating a bunch of grapes - the grapes being a Christian symbol. Close to the ground is a hand extending a bow, with an arrow pointing upwards. On the west front Mr. Jourdain thinks the twelve Apostles are intended to be represented, in pairs; four compartments or divisions only are above ground, and the shaft may be imbedded some distance in its present pedestal stone, which the church attendant tells me is buried three feet nine inches; probably the other two divisions - and four figures - are on the portion sunk in the ground.

Squirrels are mentioned as being sculptured on the oldest cross in Scotland, at Ruthwell, (circa 700), in the Reliquary, v.2. N.S. p.85.

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Rev. Professor Browne in his paper above alluded to has made some valuable notes relating to the crosses at Bakewell, Eyam, Bradbourne, etc.: “It will be seen that the ornamentation of the great cross at Bakewell consists of a magnificent scroll, springing alternately right and left from a sort of cornucopiae. The scroll at the top has a somewhat nondescript animal nibbling at the topmost bunch of fruit. Now, the Northmen believed in a sacred tree, known as the world-ash, in which four harts nibbled the buds ...... The tree was, besides, a pathway for the messenger between the gods and the earth, and this messenger was the squirrel. I suggest that the animal on the Bakewell cross recalls this early belief, for nondescript as it is there is no question at all that its fore legs clutching the fruit excellently represents the attitude of a squirrel with a nut in its paws. In this case we should have ...... a combination of the Christian and the Teutonic religious beliefs, the Christian tree of life, and the pagan messenger of the gods in its topmost branches. No one who knows the magnificent cross at Ruthwell, in Dumfriesshire, need be told where to look for a graceful original of the Bakewell squirrel”. There is much more in this most valuable paper I should like to quote, but space forbids. The figure of a man drawing a bow and taking aim upwards (towards the animal) is mentioned, and after noting that on the Bradbourne cross are four squirrels similarly employed as the one at Bakewell, Mr. Browne observes: “Eyam, Bakewell, the shaft now at Sheffield, and Bradbourne, have so much in common that mere coincidence is quite out of the question, while at the same time each has its special points”.

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“Early Christian Symbolism in Great Britain and Ireland before the thirteenth century”, by J. Romilly Allen, F.S.A. Scotland, will be found a learned and highly interesting history of these antient crosses, among other Christian symbolic monuments.

In the “Journal of the Archaeological Institute” (v. xi, p.282) is a very good steel engraving of this cross, contributed with some remarks on these early monuments by Mr. J.H. Le Keux. “The purposes for which crosses were erected”, he writes, “were very various, and the classification of monuments of this description presents a subject of interesting investigation. They were placed in churchyards to inspire devotion, and possibly in some instances as places of sanctuary, where the culprit might take refuge under the protection of the church: they were erected in market-places, where the sacred emblem, it might be, should keep before the mind feelings to counteract the sins of dishonesty, and constantly bring to remembrance the Golden Rule inculcated by Christianity. Crosses were placed to commemorate important events, to mark the scenes of strife and of victory, as in the case of the Percy and the Neville crosses; they served as landmarks and beacons, as at Dundry, Somerset; they were the resting-places in towns or by high-ways, where the corpse was deposited for a while, when being carried to the grave; and they were the resort of the needy and impotent, who there assembled to crave alms for the love of Him, whose symbol is the cross. They were placed to mark and protect springs or public wells, the base of the cross sometimes serving the purpose of a conduit, as at Geddington”. Geddington is one of the three remaining Eleanor crosses.

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The Cross in Bakewell Church-Yard
The Cross in Bakewell Church-Yard

An engraving of the Bakewell Cross is here given, accurately drawn from a photograph. Of its age, we may safely quote the opinion of Rev. J. Charles Cox, LL.D., in his valuable “Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire”, which is - “that the Bakewell cross, and several of the fragments, are not later than the eighth or possibly the ninth century, but we incline to the eighth”.

We may be pretty well satisfied that this cross is at least a thousand years old.

The Font, nearly six hundred years old, is of octagonal shape. The attribution of the figures on it is doubtful. Rev. J. Charles Cox, LL.D. in his “Derbyshire Churches” writes thus (vol. ii, page 41): “One of the figures facing north, holding a sword in one hand and a book in the other, seems certainly intended for S. Paul; another, with the keys in one hand, and a church in the other, for S. Peter; a third is a crowned figure with a book in the left hand, and a bough or branched sceptre on which rests a bird in the right, possibly meant for Edward the Confessor (who is sometimes represented with the gospel of S. John and a sceptre), or more probably for King David with the Psalms in one hand, and the dove on the sceptre as the emblem of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; a fourth is a figure seated, with hands uplifted in the act of adoration, and a nimbus round the head, probably S. Augustine; a fifth holds a long scroll; a sixth, in a short robe with legs bare below the knee, pointing with his right hand to a kind of medallion that he holds in his left hand (on which is perhaps represented the Lamb of God), probably S. John the Baptist; a seventh in a long robe, with arms folded, might be intended for various saints;

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and the eighth is a bishop with mitre and crozier, and right hand raised giving the benediction, which may very likely be intended for S. Chad, first Bishop of Lichfield. But, whatever may be the particular figures intended we have little doubt that the idea of the sculptor was to make this font typical of the dedication of the church, by carving thereon figures illustrative of 'All Saints', and this would suggest to the artist the selection of saints of different epochs”. The date of this font is probably about 1300; an engraving of it is in Dr. Cox's book above referred to (p. 353, plate xvi). There is also one in Mr. Bateman's “Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire” (p. 187) along with many engravings of the Saxon tombs, grave stones, and fragments of Sculpture in Bakewell Church.

Archdeacon Balston thinks the fifth figure might be a representation of Moses and the serpent, skewing the efficacy of faith. The Archdeacon also suggests that all the figures may be typical of what is required in baptism I. The Holy Spirit (the dove) from on high (Thy King); II. The Church (S. Peter); III. The Word (S. Paul); IV. The Bishop; V. The Priest; VI. Repentance (S. John Baptist); VII. Faith; VIII. Prayer.

Another interpretation has been suggested as follows; starting at the west octagonal face, looking east, and passing round by the right hand: I. The Virgin crowned, with Dove in one hand and open book in the other; II. The Ascension; III. Moses lifting up the serpent; IV. S. John the Baptist pointing with the right hand to a medallion, with Lamb, in the left; V. One of the Martyrs, with hands bound; VI. A Bishop in act of benediction; VII. S. Paul with Sword in right hand,

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and the Word (a book) in the left: VIII. S. Peter, with Church in one hand and the keys in the other.

There was in this Church formerly (in the fifteenth century) a Chantry founded by the Vernon family and dedicated to Our Lady,

Sir Godfrey Foljambe, who died in 1377, was the founder (1366) of a Chantry dedicated to the Holy Cross, at the east end of the south aisle, where is now an arch filled with plate glass. Here we see one of the most perfect monuments of its kind and age, erected to the memory of Sir Godfrey and his second wife. They are represented in half-length figures of alabaster, beneath a double canopy, and above a double almery. Over the knight are the arms of Foljambe, and over the lady gu. 6 fleurs-de-lys arg. (Ireland). She was Avena, daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas Ireland, of Hartshorne, by Avena, daughter and heiress of Sir Payn de Vilers, knight, of Kinoulton and Newbold, co. Notts.

There is a very interesting Paper, with pedigree, on the Foljambe family, in the “Reliquary” vol. xiv., page 238, et seq. to which I refer any of my readers who wish to go further into the genealogy of this old Derbyshire family. It may perhaps be most acceptable to print here a translation of the Latin inscription which is now on a tablet under this monument

“Sir Godfrey Foljambe, Knight, and Avena, his wife (who afterwards married Sir Richard de Greene, Knight) Lord and Lady of the Manors of Hassop, Okebroke, Elton, Stanton, Darley-over-hall, and Lokhowe, founded this Chantry in honour of the Holy Cross in the thirty-ninth year of the reign of King Edward the Third. Godfrey died on the first Thursday after the feast of the Ascension of our Lord, in the fiftieth year of the aforesaid King; and Avena died on the first Sabbath after the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the sixth year of the reign of King Richard the Second”.

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This inscription has, however, been added early in the present century, and is not strictly accurate, the Chantry having been founded by Sir Godfrey and his first wife (Anne). Vide Dr. Cox's “Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire”, Vol. 2, pp.10, 16, etc.

One of the windows in the south aisle illustrating the Te Deum is erected to the memory of Louisa Blanche, wife of Cecil George Savile Foljambe, of Cockglode, and eldest daughter of Frederick John and Lady Fanny Howard. Ob. 1871.

Another, next to it, illustrating the Resurrection, is in memory of Francis Gisborne, of Holme Hall Ob. 1878. The west window is erected to the memory of the late William Allcard, of Burton Closes.

There was formerly some heraldic glass in the windows, which has now altogether disappeared.

The Organ, considered an exceptionally fine instrument, was rebuilt in 1883. Mr. T.B. Mellor, organist of Bakewell Church, gives me the following information. Many of the old pipes by “Lincoln & Lincoln”, an eminent firm of organ builders who erected the original instrument, were retained. The present organ has ten stops on the great organ, twelve in the swell, seven in the choir, and an independent pedal organ of six stops; the bellows are blown by a small hydraulic engine. The re-building cost £1100, raised by public subscription. The oak case was the gift of Mr. S. Taylor-Whitehead of Burton Closes, and the cost of it was £260.

Campbell, the poet, visited Derbyshire in 1831, being the guest of his friends the Arkwrights. In Beattie's Life of Campbell is a private letter dated “Stoke, near

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Bakewell, October 6th, 1831”, in which he writes: “I have heard Neukomm play the organ. This is as great an era in my sensation as was the first sight of the Apollo... ... About my good fortune in hearing Neukomm, I know not what to say...... The stunning surprise of this man's performance baffles all description. I had heard the church organ at Bakewell, played by an ordinary hand. Neukomm tells me it is really a right good organ; but when I joined the party to hear him perform on it, on Monday, I could not credit my senses though I saw it was the same instrument. A little child of six years old, they tell me, expressed the same astonishment, and told his father that it could not possibly be the same organ. When assured that it was indeed the very same, he said, 'Then it is not played with hands'. Biess the little soul! Shakespeare could have said nothing finer”. In the Life of Mendelssohn, by Gage, there appears this mention of Neukomm: “With Mendelssohn there appeared in London, at this time, Neukomm, the pupil of Haydn, a noble character and highly trained man, who, as a friend, was most true; but who, as a composer, though solid, clear, and careful, yet lacked the Attic salt. He was at that time bringing out his oratorios, 'The Ten Commandments', and 'Christ'; and he was adapting some parts to the voices of Braham and Phillips”. Neukomm was a celebrated German Musician who died in 1858.

The south transept was rebuilt as nearly as possible in its former style of architecture - the Decorated, of which the south door-way is a beautiful specimen. One of the old windows is at Lomberdale Hall, where it is built into a wall and thus preserved. The Vernon chapel is separated

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from the south aisle by an old carved oak screen. It was for many generations a burial place of members of the Vernon and Manners families, successive owners of Haddon Hall, there being no place of sepulture attached to their Haddon chapel.

The oldest monument in this chapel is an altar or high-tomb with effigy, in alabaster, of Sir Thomas Wendesley, Knight, of Wendesley (or Wensley), in the parish of Darley, who was mortally wounded in the battle of Shrewsbury, in 1403, while fighting on the side of the House of Lancaster. His bones were found beneath the tomb in 1841. Upon his helmet is the inscription IHC NAZAREN. The tomb itself on which the effigy is placed is modern. The following inscription, also modern, runs round the margin

“Hic jacet Dns Thomas de Wendesley, miles, in proelio apud Shrewsburye, occisus. Anno Dni MCCCCII”.

The earliest of the Vernon monuments is an altar-tomb of alabaster, round the margin of the top slab of which runs this inscription

“Hie jacet Johes Vernon filius et heres Henrici Vernon qui obiit xii die mensis Augusti Anno Dni Mcccclxxvii cuj anime ppiciet d'e”.

Until the year 1881 this tomb was in the centre of the chancel.

The effigies of Sir George Vernon and his two wives are superincumbent upon the fine altar-tomb adjacent, which is enriched all round with armorial bearings (some of which have been incorrectly repainted) on stone shields, as well as on his surcoat, which is covered with quartered arms. Sir George Vernon who was known as the “King of the Peak” from his great influence, wealth, and hospitality, is pourtrayed [sic] in effigy between his two wives

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whose names are duly recorded in the following inscription

“Here lyeth Sir George Vernon, knt., deceased ye.... daye of.. anno 156 , and Dame Margaret his wyffe, daughter of Sir Gylbert Tayleboys, deceased ye...... daye of ......156..; and also Dame Maude his wyffe, daughter of Sir Ralphe Langford, deceased ye.. daye of.... anno 156... whose solles may God pardon”.

It was frequently the custom in those days to erect such monuments in the life-time of those they were intended to commemorate; hence, as in this instance, the dates of death had to be left blank, with the intention that they should eventually be added, and oftentimes we find this completion neglected.

The south end of the chapel is filled with the stately monument of Sir John Manners and Dorothy (Vernon) his wife, who are represented in kneeling and prayerful attitude. This was the lady whose romantic marriage has become so celebrated. On the monument is a large shield bearing sixteen quarterings of Manners, impaling twelve quarterings of Vernon. There are also other armorial bearings, which space forbids me to attempt to relate.

This is the inscription:

“Here lyeth Sir John Manners, of Haddon, Knight, second sonne to Thomas, Earle of Rutland, who dyed the 4 of June, 1611, and Dorothie, his wife, one of the daughters and heires to Sir George Vernon, of Haddon, Knight, who deceased the 24 day of June, in the 26 year of the raigne of Queen Elizabeth, 1584”.

Sir John Manners was knighted after the death of his wife whom he survived 27 years.

It has long been held by antiquaries that such effigies are likenesses of those whom they represent; and it is in this case a remarkable fact that the skull of Sir John Manners, which was seen at its temporary exhumation in 1841, at the time of the re-building, was found to correspond

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in shape with that of the effigy of the Knight. This fact gives additional value to effigial monuments as true representations of the knights and ladies to whose memory they were erected.

The romantic story of the courtship and marriage of Sir John Manners with Dorothy Vernon is well told in the “Reliquary” vol. i. page 79, et seq., by that clever writer Eliza Meteyard, whose nom-de-plume was “Silverpen”, under the title of “The Love steps of Dorothy Vernon”.

On a small mural alabaster monument against the eastern wall is this inscription:

“Here lyeth buried John Manners, Gentleman, third son of Sir John Manners, knight, who died the xvi day of July, in the yeere of our Lord God 1590, being of the age of 14 yeers”.

Against the north wall of the chapel is the monument erected to the memory of Sir George Manners, Knight, his wife Grace, (whose bust from a cast taken after death is in the Ball Room or Long Gallery at Haddon), and their family. It is similar in style to that of Sir John Manners and his wife Dorothy, at the south end, but larger and more ambitious.

In the centre of the monument are the figures of the Knight and his Lady, kneeling at a lectern, on the front of which are the words: “Thy prayers and thine alms are gone up before God”. Along the top, over the figures, are written these words: “Ye day of a man's death is better than ye day of his birth”. On the upper part of the monument also, on the dexter side:

“Christ is to me both in death and life an advantage”.

On the sinister

“I shall go to him, he shall not return to me”.

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There is a Latin inscription, which may be translated

“Sir George Manners, of Haddon, knt., here waits the resurrection of the just in Christ. He married Grace, second daughter of Sir Henry Pierrepont, knt., who afterwards bore him four sons and five daughters, and lived with him in holy wedlock thirty years, here caused him to be buried with his forefathers, and then placed this monument at her own expense, as a perpetual memorial of their conjugal faith, and she joined the figure of his body with hers, having vowed their ashes and bones should be laid together; he died April 23rd, A.D. 1623, aged 54; she died A.D.... aged...”.

The Manners shield of sixteen quarterings again appears here. Effigies of their four sons and of their five daughters are in arched niches below the central figures, and over the several arches are these legends. Over the chrisom child, and over the niches in which are the other eight children

“Mine age is nothing in respect of Thee”. (Infant)
“One generation passeth and another cometh”. (Son)
“A vertvovs woman is a crowne to her hvsband”. (Daughter)
“The wise woman bvildeth her hovse”. (Daughter)
“My dayes were bvt a span long”. (Son)
“By the grace of God I am that I am”. (Son)
“A graciovs woman retaineth honovr”. (Daughter)
“A prvdent wife is from the Lord”. (Daughter)
“Shee that feareth the Lord shall be praysed”. (Daughter)

Their eldest son died in infancy. The second son became Earl of Rutland. Their daughters: Elizabeth, Lady Lexington; Eleanor, Lady Rockingham; their son Henry, who died at the age of twelve; Roger, who died at the age of eighteen; Dorothy, Lady Lake; Frances, Lady Castleton; and Mary, Lady Crowe. There are many coats of arms about this monument which is one of the most costly and elaborate of its kind.

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On an alabaster slab, which no doubt formerly was the upper slab of an altar-tomb, are traces of two figures and a portion of an inscription incised thereon. The slab is now fixed in the wall, whither it was moved from the floor of the chapel in front of Sir George Manners' monument where it had lain for many years and thus became partially obliterated. Some years ago these words were visible

“Orate pro animabus.... qui obiit nativitatis Dni anno...”.

On a shield below the figures are the arms of Eyre impaling a chevron between three estoiles (conjectured to be Mordaunt), which identifies the memorial as belonging to the Eyre family.

The stained-glass window (by Hardman) erected to the memory of the fifth Duke of Rutland represents the Resurrection. In the centre light our Lord is represented in a white diapered robe edged with gold, and rising triumphant over a tomb, His right hand held up in the attitude of benediction. The figure is very dignified. It is surrounded by a back ground of rich ruby colour, with angels' heads in the margin. In the lower part of each of the side-lights three Roman soldiers are represented, one in each group starting with terror, as related by S. Matthew. In the upper side of each side-light is seen an angel descending towards the tomb; whilst in the head-light a choir of angels celebrates the glorious event. In the top-most light the Holy Spirit is seen descending as a dove. Beneath the window is a brass plate with this inscription

“The above window was erected by subscription, in memory of John Henry, Duke of Rutland, who died 20th of January, 1857, aged 79 years”.

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In 1841, when it became necessary to disturb the floor of the chapel in process of rebuilding, the coffins and remains of many of the bodies were taken up and removed to a temporary vault outside the church, and were eventually re-interred in their former places. A full and authentic account of these proceedings will be found in Dr. Cox's “Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire”, vol. ii. page 28, et seq, There is also another shorter account in the “Reliquary”, vol. iv. page 61; as well as in the “Gem of the Peak”, by W. Adam, page 181, the fourth edition of which is dated 1845, and the fifth (p. 162) 1851.

George and Edward Manners, first and second sons of Sir John Manners, (afterwards eighth Earl of Rutland), both died under age. The eldest son, George, being in delicate health, was sent to London for a change and for medical relief with a view to his recovery. He, however, developed smallpox, died, and before his parents could be communicated with, “being left as a stranger”, was buried privately in the chancel of S. Martin's-in-the-Fields in London. His body was afterwards removed to the Vernon vault in Bakewell church by special licence dated Nov. 8th, 1638. The re-burial is recorded in the Bakewell Registers. The authority for his removal and other particulars relating thereto, are recorded in the “Reliquary”, vol. xxiv. p. 231.

In the Vernon chapel, reared up against the wall is a wooden shield, on which are painted the Arms of England and France. It is said that it came here from Haddon Hall, and was once in the chancel.

The south window in the south transept is filled with stained-glass in memory of Jonathan Wilson, with this inscription on a brass beneath

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“The window above is dedicated by Friends and Relations to the memory of Jonathan Wilson, fourth son of the Rev. Edward Wilson, of Congleton, Cheshire, and for eighteen years an inhabitant of this town, in which he died on the 13th of February, A.D. 1850, in the 33rd year of his age, full of faith and a pattern of good works. The complete restoration of this Church was especially an object of his desire, and was greatly promoted by his zeal and liberality in life and in death”.

“His body was committed to the ground in his native town of Congleton, in sure and certain hope of a joyful resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

“As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness”. - Psalm xvii, 15.

The west wall of this transept is pierced by three lancet windows, two of which are filled with rich coloured glass, the gift of Dr. Walters, and three trefoil lights in the clerestory, also filled with stained glass. In one of the lancets is a very fine figure of S. James, and in the other one of S. John. In the S. James window is this inscription

“In Dei gloriam; ob creberrima erga se beneficia; per annos xxxviii; hanc fenestram ponenum curavit; Jacobus Smith Walters; E.Coll. Reg. chirurg. in Anglia sociis; Anne Domini MDCCCLXIV”.

In the S. John window: E DONO J.S. WALTERS S.R.C.C.

The chancel was restored and adorned as at present in the year 1881, by the Venerable Archdeacon Balston, D.D., Vicar. The windows are Early English (or perhaps very early transitional to the Decorated period), of similar character to those in the north and south aisles. The stalls are of carved oak, the old usable parts having been worked in, along with the new, in uniformity of design, with miserere seats, three of which are antient; the handsome screen of elegantly carved oak was at the same time added. The

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altar-table and reredos are cleverly arranged to harmonize with the peculiar design of two east windows. The reredos is very beautiful, and beyond praise; the effect is admirable. The table is of oak, with a super-table or sub-reredos of beautifully-veined Derbyshire marble, above which is a panel of white marble containing sculptures of the twelve apostles; above which again is a splendid representation of the Crucifixion, with the city of Jerusalem in the back - around, carved in bold relief in lime wood, surmounted by exquisitely carved wood-work, terminating in a finial niche in which is a very beautiful figure of an angel bending forward and looking downward.

The two east windows are filled with stained-glass (by Hardman) with subjects from the Old and New Testament, The easternmost south window is filled with stained-glass to the memory of Mr. Henry F. Barker, of Brooklands, who died in 1888.

Six small canopied niches in the chancel front of the screen, intended for figures, have lately been filled with medallions, skillfully designed and elaborately carved in lime wood. The subjects illustrate the six works of mercy, (Matthew xxv).-

“I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat”.
“I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink”.
“I was a stranger, and ye took me in”.
“Naked, and ye clothed me”.
“I was sick, and ye visited me”.
“I was in prison, and ye came unto me”.

Each subject is a study in itself. To the beneficence of the Archdeacon, we are again indebted for this enrichment of our church.

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Archdeacon Balston, in 1886, erected carved oak choir stalls, with a Priest's stall on either side, both of which have miserere seats copied from antient carvings in Beverley Minster.

On Easter Day, 1889, the massive and handsome brass eagle Lectern was used for the first time; it is inscribed as an Easter Offering, and was presented by Mr. S. Taylor-Whitehead, of Burton Closes; the Bible being given by Mrs. Taylor-Whitehead.

The sedilia in the south wall in the chancel have three pointed canopies, with seats of different elevations, the uppermost of which is now used as a credence table. There is also a piscina niche.

The Lomberdale collection of antiquities, now removed to Sheffield, and already referred to, contained fragments of stone, &c., from the chancel and other parts, the removal of which from the church is to be deplored. Fifty years ago very little attention was directed to such objects of antiquity; Archaeological Societies have done much, especially during the last quarter of a century, to preserve relics of past ages, and create a taste for their observation and preservation, while illustrating their value in a historical sense.

The present peal of eight bells was cast by Thomas Mears in 1796. The inscription on each bell is as follows. These inscriptions are printed in the “Reliquary” vol. xiii. page 103, and also in “Half Hours with some English Antiquities”, page 171, by Llewellynn Jewitt F.S.A., as well as in Dr. Cox's “Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire”, vol. ii, page 43.

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1st Bell.

“When I begin our merry din,
This band I lead from discord free;
And for the fame of human name,
May ev'ry leader copy me”.

2nd Bell.

“Mankind, like us, too oft are found
Possess'd of nought but empty sound”.

3rd Bell.

“When of departed hours we toll the knell,
Instruction take & spend the future well”.

4th Bell.

“When men in hymen's bands unite,
Our merry peals produce delight;
But when death goes his dreary rounds,
We send forth sad and solemn sounds”.

5th Bell.

“Thro grandsire & tripples with pleasure men range,
'Till death calls the bob & brings on the last change”.

6th Bell.

“When vict'ry crowns the public weal
With glee we give the merry peal”.

7th Bell.

“Would men like us, join & agree
They'd live in tuneful harmony”.

8th Bell.

“Possess'd of deep sonorous tone
This belfry king sits on his throne;
And, when the merry bells go round,
Adds to and mellows ev'ry sound;
So in a just and well pois'd state,
Where all degrees possess due weight,
One greater pow'r, one greater tone
Is ceded to improve their own”.

There are a few remarkable epitaphs on grave-stones in the church-yard, which may interest some visitors. Here are three such

“Know posterity, that on the 8th of April, in the year of grace 1757, the rambling remains of the above-said JOHN DALE, were in the 86 year of his pilgrimage, laid upon his two wives.”

“This thing in life might raise some jealousy,
Here all three lie together lovingly,
But from embraces here no pleasure flows;
Alike are here all human joys and woes;
Here Sarah's chiding John no longer hears,
And old John's rambling Sarah no more fears;
A period's come to all their toilsome lives,
The good man's quiet - still are both his wives”.

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In remembrance of Philip Roe, ob. 1815.

“The vocal powers here let us mark
Of Philip our late parish clerk;
In church none ever heard a layman
With a clearer voice, say, Amen.
Who now with Hallelujah's sound
Like him can make the roofs resound?
The choir lament his choral tones,
The Town - so soon here lie his bones.
Sleep, undisturbed, within this peaceful shrine,
Till angels wake thee with such notes as thine!”

A former Vicar was requested by a parishioner to write an epitaph for his brother's grave, with this result (1782):

“Encomiums on the dead are empty sounds
And mockery: the last great day alone
Shall wipe the colouring off, and man
In his true state shall stand exposed to view”.

The attendant at the Church informs me that many visitors admire the following epitaphs; they are therefore printed here for their special benefit:

Here lies the breathless sight
Which lately was my comfort and delight;
Just on the verge of joy my hopes are fled,
The offspring lives, but oh! the mother's dead.

Reflect, O stranger, what is mortal life,
A complicated scene of woe and strife,
More fleeting than the blossom of a flower
Which blooms at morn, and, ere the day is o'er,
It droops its bead, it fades, and is no more;
'Tis short indeed', tis merely but a span,
Reflect on this, and learn to live, O man.

Life's busy, restless stage with me is o'er,
And now I go to find that destined shore
Where once arrived there, then, oh then, remains
To prove this truth, that loss of life is gain.

Beneath, a sleeping infant lies,
To earth whose body lent,
More glorious shall hereafter rise,
Though not more innocent.

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When the Archangel's trump shall blow,
And souls to bodies join,
Millions will wish their lives below,
Had been as short as thine.

Visitors wishing to see through the church should apply to Mr. Henry Bradbury, whose house [in 1889] is adjacent.

The CEMETERY is situated a few hundred yards south of the church. It was designed by Mr. Barry, of London. Two chapels - one for use of members of the Church of England, the other for Nonconformists - with an Entrance Lodge for the residence of the superintendent, stand within it. The ground is tastefully laid out and adorned with shrubs and flowers. The northern portion, appropriated to the Church of England, was consecrated by the Bishop of Lichfield on the 17th November, 1858. The extent of the whole is about three acres and a half.

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OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in May 2013.

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