Derbyshire Places of Worship

St James's Church, Harpur Hill (39k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Alf Beard
St James's Church, Harpur Hill
St James's Church,
Harpur Hill Road,
Harpur Hill, 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 1876, and we understand it is still open.

Bulmer's Directory of 1895 describes Harpur Hill as "an eminence and small village about two miles south of Buxton"; further that there are "some works belonging to the Buxton Lime Co. which gave employment to many hands". The Buxton Lime Co. also provided for their workers' educative and spiritual needs, since they erected a school in 1876, which was also used or church service. The curate-in-charge was Rev. C.H. May.

A further snippet is that "on a farm here is the celebrated Diamond Hill, where the crystals known as Buxton diamonds are found … if the turf be raised, particularly after rain, these stalactical formations are found a little distance below the surface … the crystals are hexagonal in form and shine with a brilliant lustre". Apparently these are quartz crystals, which made their way to the surface in the 1700s and 1800s, and thus became objects of note.

For an introduction to St James's in the present day you may want to visit the Parish of Buxton with Burbage and King Sterndale website.

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] According to Derbyshire Record Office's Guide to Church of England Registers St James's Church was opened as a Chapel of Ease for Burbage in 1910. However Kelly's Directory of 1895, in its section for Burbage-on-the-Wye, refers to a “Mission Church and School erected at Harpur Hill in this parish by the Buxton Lime Company - who also pay an annual stipend to the curate, and have further established a reading and news room; the Rev. Henry Clark May L.Th. of Durham University has been curate in charge since 1894”, and the St James's parish register entries begin in 1891. Moreover, the Revd. May was not its first curate, as Kelly's Directory of 4 years earlier (1891) refers to the Rev. John Hilton Ireland M.A. of St. John's College, Cambridge, as being curate in charge since 1887.

Kelly's Directory of 1891 also mentions Christ Church (in Burbage itself), a Wesleyan Chapel, and a Primitive Methodist Chapel at Canhole, and by 1895, a second Wesleyan Chapel. On first sight this seems to be a lot of chapels for what is now a small area; however Kelly's Directory (1895) further explains that “the quarries and works of the Buxton Lime Firms Co. Limited, the largest of that kind in the kingdom, give employment to several hundred men, the lime being principally used for chemical and manufacturing purposes”.

Burbage was part of Hartington Upper Quarter until 1869. In 1975, however Burbage, along with Harpur Hill and King Sterndale, were joined once again to become part of the united parish of Buxton.

St James's graveyard may be found is on the opposite side of St John's Road to the church building.[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 SK0636071178. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


I have found many websites of use whilst compiling the information for this database. Here are some which deserve mention as being of special interest for Harpur Hill, and perhaps to Local History and Places of Worship as a whole.

The above links were selected and reviewed at the time I prepared the information, but please be aware their content may vary, or disappear entirely. These factors are outside my control.


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 18 Dec 2018 at 14:09.

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This Report was created 24 Aug 2021 - 23:00:44 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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