Derbyshire Places of Worship

We have 4 Images St John the Baptist's Church, Dronfield (1) (110k) St John the Baptist's Church, Dronfield (2) (205k) St John the Baptist's Church, Dronfield (3) (264k) St John the Baptist's Church, Dronfield (4) (76k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of David Lindley
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St John the Baptist's Church, Dronfield
St John the Baptist's Church,
Church Street, S18 1QB,
Dronfield, 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 before 1000, and we understand it is still open.

"The Gospel of Christ was possibly brought to the Dronfield area as a result of the missionary activities of the brother Chadd and Cedd, in Mercia in the 7th century. At the dawn of the second millennium there would probably have been a preaching cross and church on the hillside overlooking the Drone Valley. St John the Baptist church became the Catholic Church which grew from these early beginnings".

This is a quotation from the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Dronfield website. As this refers to the period before the Reformation, all our places of worship would have been "catholic", in the widest sense.

It is evident that through the ages, those who served St John's were proud of this heritage. The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/448/5/1/1) was completed by Willm Conyngham Ussher, Curate of Dronfield, who lived in Dronfield. Under "Name and Description of Church or Chapel" he wrote:

"Dronfield - a Parish Church - (St John the Baptist) 132 feet long & a spire of some height, had formerly a Chantry, & was appropriated to Beauchieff Abbey. The Vicarage is in the gift of the Crown. The Church of Dronf. was given to Beauchief Abby by Sir Hy. [Henry] De Brailsford, time of Edwd. I & appropriated within 1399. Thomas Gomfrey Rector died Oct 1399. Wm Cooke Vicar 1531. The Church Register commences 1560. Popun. [population] nearly 4000. Vicarage endowed in A.D 1405".

His estimate of the congregation on March 30th was 50 in the morning and 140 in the afternoon, with 45 Sunday Scholars in the morning (33 boys and 12 girls), and 33 boys and 14 girls in the afternoon. He added that "the Winter Congregations are very small - the Church being cold & damp". [Note: the Curate's surname is also recorded as "Ussher" on the 1851 household Census - he was born in Dublin]

Kelly's Directory of 1932 records that the Church, situated on a height, is a large building in the Early Gothic style, consisting of chancel with vestry, clerestoried nave, aisles, porch and an embattled western tower with spire rising to a height of 132 feet and containing a clock and 6 bells". Its situation, "on a height", prompted our photographer, David Lindley, to comment that it is "one of those difficult-to-photograph churches... quite large so you need to stand well back, though there is really nowhere to go, as it's a bit hemmed-in on the south side, and the land rapidly falls-away on the north & east sides. There would be a good view from the west... but there's a huge tree right in front of the tower"...


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 SK3528678426. 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 Dronfield, 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 6 Feb 2019 at 15:49.

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Further Information

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This Report was created 29 Nov 2023 - 02:09:38 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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