St Anne's History

The church dates back to the early 13th Century and was dedicated to St Anne, the grandmother of Jesus. It is placed with its steeple close to the River Derwent and is adjacent to the old Packhorse Bridge linking Baslow to Bubnell.

The church consists of a nave, north and south aisles, chancel, vestries and a tower surmounted by a breached spire. The tower and spire occupy an unusual position at the west end of the north aisle instead of at the end of the nave as is the usual arrangement.

Probably what is now the north aisle served as the nave when this part and the tower were first built. It is believed that this part of the church is of the latter half of C13th at the close of the Early English period.

The tower is supported on the west side by two buttresses placed diagonally at the angles. In the west wall there is a small, double lancet window with trefolied leads, and above is a single lancet light.

The weather-moulding stones on the east side of the tower, above the present roof of the north aisle, show that it formerly supported the gable of a high-pitched roof. There is also an early English buttress at the south-west angle of the nave.

The aisle roofs are C15  whilst in the porch is a fragment of a pre-Norman Cross Shaft with interlace.

The nave is attributed to the latest period of the Decorated, or the commencement of the Perpendicular. It projects beyond the north aisle so as to conceal half of the south side of the tower, giving convincing proof that it was added to the tower and north aisles at a later date. To the early part of C14th may be assigned the three arches with their supporting pillars, on the sides of the nave, which separate it from the aisles.

The clerestory windows, of which there are four on the south side and three on the north, are attributed to about the close of the C14th. The three-light west window, with its four quarter-foils in the upper tracery, is a good specimen of the Geometrical Decorated. These windows form a feature of the church. There are several incised sepulchral stones forming the lintels of the clerestory windows, which were freed from plaster when the church was restored. From what can be seen of these stones, three on the north side, it appears that they are all of one date, probably around the start of the C12th, all of these windows bear symbols.
In the year 1718 a loft or gallery was erected at the west end of the nave, for the construction of which the Duke of Rutland gave an oak tree. The first church organ was situated under this gallery and there it remained until 1852 when it was placed against the north wall of the north aisle. In 1911 it was again moved, and was erected in the new vestry. Finally in 1959, due largely to the generosity of an anonymous donor, a new organ, at a cost of over £3,000, was placed under the west window – the wheel had turned a full circle.
In 1853 the chancel was rebuilt with a high pitched roof, at the time when the church was completely restored at a cost of £1200 raised by voluntary subscriptions. The chancel roof was covered with grey slate but not in keeping with the rest of the church. The architect for this chancel was a nephew of Sir Joseph Paxton, George Henry Stokes.
 
The gallery was taken down and all the pews in the body of the nave were replaced by free and open sittings. In 1859 the present west window was erected in memory of the Duke of Rutland, John Henry Manners.
The south aisle was probably built at the same time as the nave. According to Bassano the ‘Kinges Armes’ were to be seen in the east window of the south aisle. The east window was replaced by a memorial window in memory of Isabel, youngest daughter of the late Rev. J. Wilson of Sheffield. This window was removed to the west end of the aisle during the building of the arch leading to the new vestry in 1910.
 
The original chancel was Norman and contained three handsome Sadilia, a drawing of which now hangs in the vestry, In 1853, during the general restoration of the church, the chancel was built with a pitched roof, at a cost of £1,200, raised by voluntary subscriptions. The chancel roof was covered with slate, and in keeping with the rest of the church. The architect for this task was a nephew of Sir Joseph Paxton.

In 1894 the oak reredos was added on which are the Ten Commandments. Soon after the Rev. J. Smith became Vicar is was decided to re-build the chancel, and this took place in 1911. The following is from the pen of Dr. Wrench. “Norman work was found at the re-building of the chancel in May 1911, built into a C13th wall, so the C19th restorers were the first destroyers. I had these stones fixed in the porch near the tomb-stone. One of these stones found, I believe is Saxon rope-decorated”.
 
The 1911 restoration was to commemorate the coronation of King George V. Mr. Advent Hunstone of Tideswell undertook the oak carving, in the chancel. The Rood Screen and the Communion Table , the prayer desks and the Credence Table were all made by him. The Communion Table was given by Mr. Frederick Stanton as a thank offering for his recovery from a very severe illness. The screen was also donated by Mr. Stanton. The Altar Cross was given by Mrs. Stanton in memory of her husband who died in 1910, the Processional cross was donated by the same individual.

The font is situated by the main door on the south aisle. The following is an extract from Cox’s Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire. “There is an old octagon font near the south entrance, on an octagon base which has decorated mouldings, but we think that the base stone is a modern one. This font was recovered for its sacred uses at the time when the church was restored, from the Vicarage cellar. We were told by the present incumbent that it had been therein used for the slating of bacon, but further enquiry inclines us to more charitable surmise that it had been placed there with the intention of preserving it”.
The porch contains a genuine relic of antiquity. Into the south wall is built a large monumental slab or coffin lid., discovered during the alterations. It bears no inscription, but has a cross with florinated limbs in slight relief. On the side are two keys. The key used to be considered as the symbol of the female sex, but this has been disproved, and there can be little doubt but that it indicates the duties of the person commemorated, such as the steward or comptroller of a large household. It is believed that the date of this stone is of the first quarter of C13th.


 


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