Derbyshire Places of Worship

St John the Baptist's Church, Winster (1) (52k) St John the Baptist's Church, Winster (2) (38k) St John the Baptist's Church, Winster (3) (42k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Alf Beard
St John the Baptist's Church, Winster
St John the Baptist's Church,
Elton Road,
Winster, 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 Winster as a small town and parish, formed in 1866 from Youlgrave; 2½ miles west from Darley Dale station on the Ambergate and Manchester section of the London, Midland and Scottish railway, about 6 south-east from Parsley Hay station on the Buxton and Parsley Hay branch of the same railway, 5 west from Matlock and 6 south from Bakewell. The water supply was (in 1932) derived from a reservoir fed by springs rising in the gritstone at Stanton Park.

Winster was one of five chapels given, with the mother church of Youlgreave, to the abbey of Leicester in the reign of Henry II. The present church of St John the Baptist, "entirely rebuilt, except the tower, and considerably enlarged in 1842, is an edifice in the Early English style, consisting of chancel, nave of four bays, south aisle and a low tower at the west end, containing 5 bells, the 1st, 3rd and 5th of which are dated respectively 1751, 1711 and 1860, the remaining 2 bells being undated". The font is probably late Norman, c.1200, and consists of a circular basin with cabled margin, resting on an octagonal sloping base, both being "rudely but vigorously sculptured".

The stained east window is a memorial to William Heathcote esq. and his wife. On the south side of the chancel is a memorial window to Mrs. Milnes, mother of the Rev. Herbert Milnes, vicar of the parish 1865-1895. There are also windows to the Rev. Milnes himself, and Charlotte Milnes, his wife. The custom of ringing the curfew bell is still kept here, the 4th bell being rung at eight every evening from November to February, except on Saturday, when it is rung at seven; a six o'clock morning bell is also rung from 25th March to 25th September.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/449/2/1/1) for "St John's - the Church of an ancient Chapelry in the Parish of Youlgrave" in the Township of Winster described an estimated congregation on March 30th of 26 in the morning, and 66 in the afternoon, whilst 8 Sunday Scholars attended a morning class. It was completed by William Dyke, Perpetual Curate of Winster, Matlock. He remarked (sadly, it seems) that "the greater part of the Inhabitants of Winster are professed Dissenters, and certain influential persons prevent the children from attending the Church - Sunday School & Established Church Service".

The parish records date from 1634. The living was (in 1932) a vicarage in the gift of the Parochial Church Council, and had been held since 1932 by the Rev. Arthur Gliddon Harding Britton B.A. of Christ's College, Cambridge.

The British Listed Buildings website provides the additional information that the tower is dated 1721, the nave arcade has "slender quatrefoil shafts, ending at the chancel end with diagonal chancel arches springing from a heavily foliated capital", and that the stained class window in the chancel south wall is by Burne-Jones, executed by Morris & Co. in 1883.

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] Winster was a chapelry of Youlgreave until 1838. The tower, with segmental-headed windows dates from 1721, but the rest was rebuilt in 1842-3.

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

[Image 2] The church is one of what must be only a handful in the country with a double nave. The nave on the south belongs to the church's rebuilding of 1842-3, but the body of the church was extended northwards in 1883 to create “two identical naves divided by an arcade of slim, elegant arches (which) converge by means of diagonal arches at the east end to lead into the chancel”.[1] So yes, it really is as it appears on this photograph! There is a small window on the south wall in the chancel by Bourne-Jones of 1887.

[1] “Derbyshire Churches and Chapels” (formerly has been pensioned off[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 SK2395160569. 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 Winster, 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 13 Jan 2015 at 13:17.

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This Report was created 18 Jul 2021 - 11:35:26 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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