Derbyshire Places of Worship

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St John & St James's Church (Demolished), Derwent
St John & St James's Church (Demolished),
Derwent, Derbyshire.


This Church 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 1688, but we understand it was closed in 1943.

The first church in Derwent was dedicated to St James, and according to White's Directory of 1857, was "a plain stone edifice, with a turret and one bell ... originally built as a private chapel to the Balguy family (and) endowed in 1720, by the Rev. Robert Turie, who gave part of two tenements, called the Abbey, and the Carr House, and a rent charge of £2 per annum for a school".

The church was rebuilt in 1757, and again in 1867, according to Kelly's Directory of 1895, which also recounts that "the ancient stone font, dated 1670 and bearing the arms of Balguy, stood for some time in the gardens of Derwent Hall, but has been replaced in the church".

But these stalwart foundations were to be submerged below the waters of the Ladybower Reservoir in 1943, for the building of the Ladybower Dam. The last marriage service at Derwent was held on 22nd December 1938, when the Revd. SIMPSON married Miss Olive OLLERENSHAW and Mr. Frank BOOTH, and the last church service in the church was held on 17th March 1943 - "attended by the Bishop of Derby and members of the Water Board".

A fuller account of the history of the church, and the careful preservation of its contents prior to its demolition, may be found in the booklet "Silent Valley - A History of the Derbyshire Villages of Ashopton and Derwent, now submerged beneath Lady Bower Dam", by V.J. Hallam (1983).

See also Derwent, The Old Chapel, about 1867, with Notes on the Chapelry of Derwent in Hathersage, an account from The Reliquary (1869-70) in the Derwent, Dethick, Drakelow section of Ann Andrews' Picture Gallery : Derbyshire, which includes an engraving of the Chapel, with its turret and single bell.

In the present day, St James is commemorated in the Parish Logo of St Cyprian's Church, Frecheville. The compensation paid by the Water Board for the destruction of St James funded the building of St Cyprian, and its endowments, and some of its furnishings also were transferred likewise. There was also a tradition that St James's pipe-organ was transferred to Church of Our Lady of Beauchief & St Thomas of Canterbury, Norton Woodseats, though the truth of this is a matter for dispute, as the original organ was replaced by an electronic one in 1989.


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 was located at OS grid reference SK1836788270. 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 Derwent, 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 20 Oct 2018 at 11:39.

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This Report was created 9 Dec 2023 - 18:51:29 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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