Derbyshire Places of Worship

Birchwood (John Smedley's) Methodist Church, Somercotes (1) (45k) Birchwood (John Smedley's) Methodist Church, Somercotes (2) (40k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Peter & Janet Kirk
Birchwood (John Smedley's) Methodist Church, Somercotes
Birchwood (John Smedley's) Methodist Church (see later for their website address)
Birchwood Lane, DE55 4ND,
Somercotes, 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 1853, and we understand it is still open.

Kelly's Directory of 1932 records Birchwood having a mission room in connection with St Thomas's Church, and a United Methodist chapel, "built in 1853 by John Smedley esq. late of Riber Castle". Initially this was for a congregation of Wesleyan Reformers, a movement which united with Wesleyan Methodist Association to form the United Methodist Free Churches in 1857. There were also United Methodist Chapels in Sleet Moor [Sleetmoor] Lane, and Lea Brooks.

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] This Church was built by John Smedley of Matlock, who was also responsible for the building of Smedley's Hydro (currently County Hall) and Riber Castle, Matlock. The Church first opened in 1853 and in 1874, after the death of John Smedley, was purchased by church members for £800. The Church interior houses a balcony at the tower end with purpose built staging for anniversaries, etc at the opposite end.

There is an integral school-room, with a moveable partition between it and the main body of the church. The school room in turn has banks of three rooms either side, whose partitions can also be removed, meaning practically the whole of the interior can be converted into one huge almost L-shaped space.

The Derbyshire Ancestral Research Group meet here every Wednesday, from 10:00a.m. to 1:30p.m.

The rear of the integral Methodist Schoolroom may be seen on the right, and there is also a photograph of the Methodist Chapel (Rear View).[1]

[Image 2] A rear view of the Methodist Chapel, Birchwood taken from the graveyard. The Derbyshire Ancestral Research Group have recorded the MI's.[1]


Now or formerly Wesleyan Reform/United Methodist.

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 SK4289353963. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Useful Links

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 in relation to Local History and Places of Worship more generally.


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

1. Information provided by Janet Kirk.

Information last updated on 13 Oct 2013 at 12:51.

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This site provides historical information about churches, other places of worship and cemeteries. It has no affiliation with the churches or congregations themselves, nor is it intended to provide a means to find places of worship in the present day.

For current information on Birchwood (John Smedley's) Methodist Church please contact their website directly.

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This Report was created 14 Oct 2018 - 22:42:04 BST from information held in the Derbyshire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 12 Oct 2018 at 15:43.

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