Derbyshire Places of Worship

St Michael & All Angels, Earl Sterndale (1) (45k) St Michael & All Angels, Earl Sterndale (2) (36k) St Michael & All Angels, Earl Sterndale (3) (41k) St Michael & All Angels, Earl Sterndale (4) (53k) St Michael & All Angels, Earl Sterndale (5) (32k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Andrew McCann/Alf Beard
St Michael & All Angels, Earl Sterndale
St Michael & All Angels,
Fernydale, SK17 0BS,
Earl Sterndale, 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 in the 12th century, and we understand it is still open.

Kelly's Directory of 1932 records Earl Sterndale as an ecclesiastical parish, formed in 1850 from Hartington, comprising the whole of Hartington Middle Quarter and a portion of the Upper Quarter, 5 miles south-south-east from Buxton, and 2 south-west from Longnor (Staffordshire). The nearest railway stations were then at Hindlow and Hurdlow, on the Buxton and Ashbourne branch of the London, Midland and Scottish railway.

The church of St Michael and All Angels, originally erected in the 14th century, and rebuilt in 1828, "is a plain edifice of stone, consisting of chancel, nave of three bays and an embattled tower at the north-west angle containing 3 bells, dating from 1865". There is an old Saxon font. A stained east window to the memories of Charles Mellor and Thomas Widdop was inserted in 1911 by Robert Mellor esq. of Abbotside. p /> The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/449/1/26/48) for "the Chapel of Earl Sterndale in the Parish of Hartington" recorded an estimated congregation on March 30th of 62 in the afternoon, with 15 Sunday Scholars (no other services). It was completed by William Buckwell, Incumbent of Buxton. In relation to its consecration, he explained that the Chapel was rebuilt & was re-opened by the Lord Bishop of Lichfield [in] 1830". So far so good, but there was a sting in his tale, as he adds... "Earl Sterndale Chapel when rebuilt was enlarged to accomodate a hamlet containing 400 inhabitants, situate four miles distance, none of whom have been in the habit of attending it".

The register, says Kelly, dates from 1765. The living was (in 1932) a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the vicar of Hartington, and had been held since 1929 by the Rev. George Cook L.Th. of Durham University.

A memorial hall was erected at Pomeroy [a small hamlet on the A515 Buxton to Ashbourne Road] in 1921 to the men of this parish who gave their lives in the Great War, 1914-1918 in whose memory also a granite pillar was erected in the churchyard in 1922.

In May 1825, a barrow on Cronkstone Hill was examined and a cist about four feet square discovered, containing a human skeleton lying on its right side, and likewise part of the antlers of a large deer. The moors and mountains of this parish, from the cairns and barrows upon them, seem to have been ancient burying places.

The following information about the Church has been provided to accompany the photographs on the right. A list of people who have supplied the information is included in the Acknowledgements, below.

[Image 1] Earl Sterndale is anciently a chapelry of Hartington, and a place of worship on this spot has been dated by some to Saxon times, though the Saxon settlement in the area, Salham, mentioned in Domesday, was laid waste by William the Conquerer.

Earl Sterndale as a village may date from soon after, when William the Conquerer gave land to his right hand man, Henry de Ferrers, Earl of Derby, and he established a settlement here. A short guide to the village suggests that a chapel may have been built at this time, possibly of wood, and it may have burned down. Certainly the present church contains evidence from this time in its font, which dates from the 12th century.

The next reference to a chapel is in an inventory of Church goods from the mid sixteenth century, which lists “Sternedall Chapell” as having “one bell and one broken bell”.

The nave of the old chapel was said by J.C. Cox in Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol 2 (1877) to measure 47 feet by 23 feet 3 inches with a chancel of 17 feet 2 inches by 15 feet 2 inches, and there was a bell-cote on the west gable. Remains of the old church are few, though, besides the 12th century font, but Cox mentions a cupboard library on the south side of the altar with the inscription “Master James Hill, His Gift, 1712”.

The present building, however dates from 1828. Cox refers to a Brief being granted in 1819 for the rebuilding of the church as the existing building was in a dilapidated state. The cost of rebuilding was then estimated at £1700, but the congregation may have been less than enthusiastic as by 1823 less than £140 had been collected for the purpose. Eventually however the rebuilding took place, in 1828, to a design by G.E Hamilton, though the new church had to wait until 1877 to get its chancel, which was designed by R.R. Duke.

A further rebuilding was necessary in 1950, after bomb damage during World War II, when the church lost its roof, and its interior furnishing were destroyed. The intended target was thought to be the D.P. Battery Works in Bakewell, where submarine batteries were made.

Salter, Mike - The Old Parish Churches of Derbyshire (1998)[1]


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 SK0906767062. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


A special thanks to the following people who have contributed information for this web page:

1. Information provided by Rosemary Lockie.

Information last updated on 12 Jan 2015 at 14:41.

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This Report was created 5 Jul 2021 - 09:16:27 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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