Derbyshire Places of Worship

St Martin's Church, Stoney Middleton (1) (38k) St Martin's Church, Stoney Middleton (2) (35k) St Martin's Church, Stoney Middleton (3) (80k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Rosemary Lockie/Peter Kirk/Don Rimmington
St Martin's Church, Stoney Middleton
St Martin's Church,
The Nook,
Stoney Middleton, 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 before 1459, and we understand it is still open.

Kelly's Directory of 1932 records Stoney Middleton as on the road from Buxton to Chesterfield, and a township and parochial chapelry in the parish of Hathersage, from which it is separated by that of Eyam. It is 3 miles from Grindleford station on the Dore and Chinley branch of the London, Midland and Scottish railway, 4 miles north from Hassop station, 5 north-north-east from Bakewell, 5 east from Tideswell and 162 from London.

The church of St Martin is said to be at the lower end of the village, and an octagonal building erected in 1759, in place of an earlier structure, consisting, as far as is known, of a simple chancel and nave". The embattled western tower, a low structure in Late Perpendicular style, remains and contains 3 bells, all cast in 1720, and a clock place in 1898.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/449/3/3/4) for "St Martyn - Chapel to Hathersage with own district parish" in "Stony Middleton", was for an estimated congregation on March 30th of 20 worshippers in the morning, and 94 in the afternoon, with 62 and 67 Sunday Scholars respectively. The return was completed by Urban Smith, its Minister, of "Stony Middleton nr. Bakewell". He remarked that March 30th was "very stormy". This, perhaps, was offered as an explanation of why the average attendance over the last 12 months had been higher - 25 in the morning, and 120 in the afternoon, though the number of Sunday Scholars was similar. There were 300 sittings in the building, but "no pews are free. The scholars are accommodated in the vacant spaces".

In 1932, according to Kelly, there were 250 sittings - presumably a consequence of a rearrangement, or "re-pewing". Kelly also mentions the churchyard - "very small, but a new cemetery has been laid out at a distance of about a quarter of a mile, and was consecrated by the Bishop of Lichfield on 11th October 1878". The parish registers date from 1715 for all entries.

The living, in 1932, was a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the vicar of Hathersage, and had been held since 1888 by the Rev. John Barnett Riddlesden M.A. of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, who was also a surrogate.

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] The nave of the Church is octagonal in plan, built in 1759 to replace the earlier nave which was destroyed by fire in 1757. Legend has it that the first Chapel at Stoney Middleton was founded in the 15th Century by Joan Eyre, formerly Joan Padley, heiress of Padley, and wife of Robert Eyre, a minor land owner, to give thanks for his safe return from the Battle of Agincourt (1415). This building was, apparently a normal church in plan, but now only the tower survives of that original building. If the legend is true, however, its founding predates 1463, the date recorded for Joan's death - she and husband Robert (d. 1459) are commemorated on a memorial brass inside Hathersage Church.

Churches of a similar octagonal plan may be found in widely separated areas of the United Kingdom, for instance at Dreghorn, in Ayrshire, and Teignmouth, in Devon. Dreghorn was built in 1780 for the Montgomeries of Eglinton, and eight years later another octagonal church was constructed at Eaglesham, in Renfrewshire, based on a plan by the architect Robert McLachlane commissioned by the 11th Earl of Eglinton, but virtually a copy of the Dreghorn configuration. Eaglesham Church was later extended, so no longer retains the same basic plan, but Dreghorn retains its octagonal shape.

Pigot's Directory for Devon, 1823-4 declared that the one at Teignmouth (St James) was in “bad taste”.[1] It also described it as a new church, so of these three, Stoney Middleton appears to be the oldest.

[Thanks to John Loney for the information on Dreghorn and Eaglesham Churches]

[1] Pigot's account is recorded in full on the page for GENUKI: Teignmouth.[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 SK2316975469. 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 2 Feb 2015 at 14:43.

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This Report was created 13 Jul 2021 - 21:43:17 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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