Derbyshire Places of Worship

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St Martin's Church, Alfreton
St Martin's Church,
Church Street, DE55 7AA,
Alfreton, Derbyshire.


This Church has (or had) a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded by 1174, and we understand it is still open.

Reginald Johnson, in A History of Alfreton (1968) records that Christian missionaries from Repton visited the Alfreton district during the latter half of the 7th century, "to initiate the local pagans into the new faith". There is no mention of a church in the Domesday survey, but "it should not be assumed that non existed... Pre-Conquest churches were mostly wooden erections of great simplicity and were demolished to make way for heavy stone erections of the Norman lords. Certainly a church existed by 1174, when Robert Fitz-Ranulph founded Beauchief Abbey - it is said, as a penance for his part in the murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Henry II. He endowed the Abbey with the churches of Alfreton, Norton, Edwalton (Notts.), and Wymeswold (Leics.), as well as lands in Alfreton, and his manor of Norton. Nothing of this building survives in the present structure, "the earliest portion of which is the stilted arch opening into the tower from the nave".

Kelly's Directory of 1895 describes it as "an edifice of stone, consisting of chancel, nave of five bays, aisles, south porch, vestry and a western tower containing a clock and 5 bells, dating from 1627 to 1780, and a small sanctus bell. One of the oldest portions of the church is the arch opening from the tower to the nave, which may certainly be attributed to the Early English period. The only other memorial of that period is a slab, incised with the head of a sepulchral cross. It was found beneath the pavement of the chancel, and in 1894 was fixed in the chancel wall, and protected in front by a sheet of plate-glass. The nave is separated from the aisles by arcades of five arches on circular columns with octagonal bases, erected about 1320, the eastern-most arches being added in 1868, when the chancel was extended. The tower is "a fair specimen of Early Perpendicular and was probably built at the beginning of the 15th century". The vestry is "boldly vaulted with stone and rubble".

Built into the north wall of the chancel is a large slab of gritstone, with brass shield of arms and Latin inscription to John Ormond esq. (1503) and Joan his wife, daughter and heiress of William Chaworth kt. (1507). In the north aisle are monuments to Anthony Morewood, gent. (1636) and others of that name. There is a reredos of Derbyshire alabaster, "into which has been skillfully worked a large slab of alabaster formerly on the chancel floor". The east window is a memorial to Charles R. Palmer-Moorwood esq. of Alfreton Hall (d.1873). A memorial window in the vestry was erected by Mrs. Lee in 1890 to her son Rev. James Percy Lee, a former curate of this parish. There is also a window erected by parishioners in 1884 to the wife of Rev. William Henry Draper M.A. then vicar of the parish, and in 1894 a stained window was erected to the memory of Tom Herring Bingham, son of Dr. Bingham, who was drowned at Eastwood, Notts on Friday 12 Aug 1892 whilst attempting to save the life of Cecile Barber, aged 5, who had fallen off a steam launch at Lamb's close. In 1895 a memorial window was placed by Mr. Wm. Wilson, of The Bank, Alfreton, to Lucy his wife. In 1844, two carved oak reading desks were placed in the church by subscription, and in 1885 a brass lectern was given by the Hon. Mrs. Palmer-Moorwood. The church plate was given in the last (ie 18th) century by various members of the Turner family of Swanwick Hall. The earliest parish register dates from 1706.

Kelly's Directory of 1932 also mentions carved oak choir stalls provided by a legacy from Miss Lucy Palmer-Moorwood, and a fine oak chancel screen erected in memory of the men of Alfreton killed in the Great War, 1914-1918, and a side altar placed in the south aisle in memory of the Rev. E.O. Read, M.A. C.F. assistant curate, who was killed at Epinoy in 1918. It also adds that the churchyard has been closed, but "is kept in very good condition during the summer months, a special fund being raised for the purpose".


Now or formerly Church of England.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.


This Church is located at OS grid reference SK4072955886. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Information last updated on 19 Dec 2013 at 08:27.

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This Report was created 4 Sep 2021 - 10:45:00 BST from information held in the Derbyshire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 3 Feb 2021 at 08:33.

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