Derbyshire Places of Worship

Default Image We do not have an Image of this Place of Worship as it has been Demolished Place of Worship has been

Image by courtesy of
Uppertown Chapel (Medieval, Demolished), Birchover
Uppertown Chapel (Medieval, Demolished),
Birchover, Derbyshire.


We don't know whether this Chapel 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 1300, but we understand it was closed before 1717.

Several sources refer to the Uppertown area near to Birchover being a major settlement in Saxon and Norman times, with a Church (or Chapel), dating possibly from the late 12th or early 13th century. The remains of the Church have long since dispersed, but dressed stones, including some with Norman chevrons, suggestive of such a building, can be found from time to time in local houses and walls; and the present "Rowtor Chapel" built by Thomas Eyre in 1717, has fragments built into its walls. The Birchover Millennium Stone also has a copy of one such Romanesque carving, discovered in a wall.

Documentary evidence of the Chapel is sparse, however, and limited to a single instance, quoted in several articles online - an entry in a Derbyshire Charter dated 1300, which refers to "a rent of one farthing in silver to be paid yearly on Michaelmas Day in ye Chapel at Birchover". [Source: Derbyshire and Peak District Heritage, et al]

Gladwyn Turbutt, in his History of Derbyshire (1996 p.532) attributes the decline of the settlement to the bad weather of the late 13th, and early 14th centuries, and consequent poor yields of uphill soils, and a withdrawal of population to more favourable areas. Elsewhere it has been suggested that the available water supply gave out, and the inhabitants moved further down the hill, towards today's Birchover village. Either way, just a few cottages and farms now remain at Uppertown.

Other "deserted villages" mentioned by Turbutt are - in the upland region of the White Peak: Ballidon, Conksbury, Cold Eaton, Hulland, Lea Hall, Smerrill Grange, Roystone Grange, and "more than a dozen other locations"; on the shales and gritstone areas: Uppertown and Upper Padley; on the Coal Measures and Magnesian Limestone: Steetley (of which the Chapel of All Saints remains), Blingsby, and Boyah Grange; and on the Keuper Marl or Sandstone soils, to the west of Derby: Mackworth and Meynell Langley. "That a period of climatic instability played a large part in their desertion is becoming increasingly clear. The effect may be seen in the construction of peasant dwellings excavated at the deserted medieval village of Barton Blount, where houses of the earliest period were found to have no eaves-trenches or stone paths. Houses built in the early thirteenth century however were surrounded by eaves-trenches and drains, and there were boundary ditches surrounding the crofts. Stone paths and cobbled thresholds were also common from this period". From this, the necessity for drainage, he deduces a wet period was evident.


Now or formerly Medieval 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 SK2399261752. 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 Birchover, 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.

Information last updated on 21 Jan 2015 at 11:40.

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This Report was created 9 Dec 2023 - 17:37:32 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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