Derbyshire Places of Worship

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St Elphin's School Chapel (Private), Darley Dale
St Elphin's School Chapel (Private)   [no longer consecrated]
Dale Road South, DE4 2RH,
Darley Dale, Derbyshire.


We believe the Chapel did NOT have 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 1904, but we understand it was closed in 2005, and the premises are now in secular use.

The School known as "St Elphin's" was opened in 1904, in a building formerly known as "Grove House", the name given to a property first erected about 1820 by John Alsop, a wealthy lead merchant. It remained his home until 1848, when he emigrated to Australia; thereafter it was to pass through several hands before its purchase by William Roberts in 1884. Roberts demolished the 1820s building, to build the present three-storied Victorian Gothic mansion. After his death in 1889, it was purchased by William Atkins, who converted it into a Hydro - the "Darley Dale Hydropathic Institute".

The fashion for the "water cure" began to wane around the turn of the century, so Atkins put the building up for sale. It was purchased as a new home for a school founded by the Rev. Horace Powys (1806-1877), in Warrington in 1844 - known as "The Clergy Daughters' School". The school had been named "St Elphin's" after the dedication of Warrington's parish Church. Overcrowding, and an outbreak of scarlet fever led to staff seeking alternative accomodation, and so began a history of St Elphin's in Darley Dale, spanning more than 100 years. Its most famous (and oft-quoted) pupil, one of the first to transfer to Darley Dale from Warrington, was Richmal Compton Lamburn (1890-1969), author of the "Just William" books. Rev. Powys himself would never have known his school's new home. He was rector of Warrington 1831-1854, and afterwards, until his death in 1877, Bishop of Sodor and Man.

St Elphin's (known locally as "St Ephalumps") was originally a boarding school for girls, but later admitted day pupils; and later still, junior boys, after the nearby Stancliffe Hall school closed. However, by late 2002 there were only 70 pupils; and as a consequence closure became inevitable. In March 2005, this finally came to pass, and since then, and in the present day, this splendid Victorian mansion has become the focus of "Audley St Elphin's Park" - a retirement village.

Its Chapel is a single storey building with a small turret, after the style of "Victorian Gothic", so may have been built at the same time as the main building, or even as an addition to the Hydro. It was not, however, labelled as such on Old Maps until after the school was opened, so to all intents and purposes it is assumed to have opened then, and similarly its closure is assumed to have occurred at the same time as the school. [Source: "Darley Dale", by Brian Spencer, published in Country Images Magazine, 2011]


Now or formerly School/College Chapel.

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 Chapel was located at OS grid reference SK2814062064. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Information last updated on 20 Jan 2015 at 11:41.

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Further Information

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This Report was created 29 Nov 2023 - 02:33:49 GMT from information held in the Derbyshire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 13 Oct 2021 at 14:33.

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