Derbyshire Places of Worship

St Oswald's Church, Ashbourne (1) (22k) St Oswald's Church, Ashbourne (2) (41k) St Oswald's Church, Ashbourne (3) (33k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Alf Beard
St Oswald's Church, Ashbourne
St Oswald's Church (link to Church's website)
Church Street,
Ashbourne, 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 about 1220, and we understand it is still open.

St Oswald's Church is widely acknowledged as one of the finest in Derbyshire. The earliest part of the present church dates from around 1200, though the building is believed to stand on the site of a pagan holy well, thought to be concealed beneath the crossing, and a church in Essebourne is mentioned in the Domesday Book. The spire is 212 feet, and has four tiers of dormer windows.

Its patron saint, St Oswald, was a seventh century king of Northumbria, killed at the Battle of Oswestry, fighting against the pagan King Penda of Mercia. It is thought that a Saxon place of worship (probably of wood) would have existed here before the Normans, and that Celtic missionaries from Iona brought Christianity to Ashbourne. King Oswald had spent several years exiled on the island, which may account for the dedication.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/447/3/3/6) for an estimated congregation on March 30th of 542 in the morning, 589 in the afternoon, and 326 in the evening was completed by "John Rd. Errington", Vicar of "Ashburne".

The parish records date from 1538, but the early portion to 1604 is in a fragmentary condition, being a copy of the original. Some early entries of special interest have been stolen, among which was a record of King Charles I. having attended divine service in August 1645. The Mappleton register was also kept here.

There is also an excellent history of St Oswald on the Ashbourne Town on the Internet website. [Other Sources: Church guide book, Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire (1932), and as St Oswald's Church is a Grade I Listed Building, the British Listed Buildings 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] St Oswald's Church is a distinctive landmark on the left side of the main A52 road out of the town in the direction of Mayfield and Leek (to the right on our photo).[1]

[Image 2] St Oswald's Church East Window[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 SK1763046441. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:


  • Places recorded by the Registrar General under the provisions of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 (2010) is available as a "Freedom of Information" document from the website What Do They Know.


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

1. Information provided by Alf Beard.

Last updated on 11 Nov 2014 at 14:26.

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This Report was created 9 Jan 2018 - 11:19:56 GMT from information held in the Derbyshire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 4 Jun 2017 at 08:14.

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