Derbyshire Places of Worship
St John the Baptist's Church, Dronfield
St John the Baptist's Church (link to Church's website)
Church Street, S18 1QB,
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.
This Place of Worship was founded before 1000, and we understand it is still open.
"The Gospel of Christ was possibly brought to the Dronfield area as a result of the missionary activities of the brother Chadd and Cedd, in Mercia in the 7th century. At the dawn of the second millennium there would probably have been a preaching cross and church on the hillside overlooking the Drone Valley. St John the Baptist church became the Catholic Church which grew from these early beginnings."
[Quotation from The Holy Spirit Church, Dronfield website]
It is evident that through the ages, those who have served it have been proud of this heritage. The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/448/5/1/1) was completed by Willm Conyngham Ussher, Curate of Dronfield, who lived in Dronfield. Under "Name and Description of Church or Chapel" he wrote:
"Dronfield - a Parish Church - (St John the Baptist) 132 feet long & a spire of some height, had formerly a Chantry, & was appropriated to Beauchieff Abbey. The Vicarage is in the gift of the Crown. The Church of Dronf. was given to Beauchief Abby by Sir Hy. [Henry] De Brailsford, time of Edwd. I & appropriated within 1399. Thomas Gomfrey Rector died Oct 1399. Wm Cooke Vicar 1531. The Church Register commences 1560. Popun. [population] nearly 4000. Vicarage endowed in A.D 1405".
His estimate of the congregation on March 30th was 50 in the morning and 140 in the afternoon, with 45 Sunday Scholars in the morning (33 boys and 12 girls), and 33 boys and 14 girls in the afternoon. He added that "the Winter Congregations are very small - the Church being cold & damp". [Note: the Curate's surname is also recorded as "Ussher" on the 1851 household Census - he was born in Dublin]
Kelly's Directory of 1932 records that the Church, situated on a height, is a large building in the Early Gothic style, consisting of chancel with vestry, clerestoried nave, aisles, porch and an embattled western tower with spire rising to a height of 132 feet and containing a clock and 6 bells". Its situation, "on a height", prompted our photographer, David Lindley, to comment that it is "one of those difficult-to-photograph churches... quite large so you need to stand well back, though there is really nowhere to go, as it's a bit hemmed-in on the south side, and the land rapidly falls-away on the north & east sides. There would be a good view from the west... but there's a huge tree right in front of the tower"...
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 SK3528678426. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:
- Places recorded by the Registrar
General under the provisions of the Places of Worship
Registration Act 1855 (2010) is available as a
"Freedom of Information" document from the website
What Do They Know.
Last updated on 15 Dec 2014 at 14:56.
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This Report was created 28 Feb 2017 - 21:19:35 GMT from information held in the
Derbyshire section of the
Places of Worship Database.
This was last updated on 27 Aug 2016 at 10:57.
URL of this page: http://churchdb.gukutils.org.uk/DBY275.php