Derbyshire Places of Worship

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St Giles's Church, Matlock
St Giles's Church,
Church Street, DE4 3BW,
Matlock, 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 1154, and we understand it is still open.

J. Charles Cox, in Notes on the churches of Derbyshire (Vol 2) proposes that St Giles's Church was built and presented to the church of Lincoln during the reign of King Stephen, 1135-1154, and always an independent rectory - dismissing a theory presented by "that eminent antiquary" Dr. Pegge, who suggested it was originally a chapel of ease of Wirksworth.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/449/2/7/17) for "the Parish Church, Matlock" indicated a healthy attendance on March 30th of 145 at morning service, and 143 in the afternoon, with 130 Sunday Scholars attending both a morning, and afternoon class. Interestingly, none of the 420 sittings were free, so there was no accomodation for the poor. The return was completed by W.R. Melville, Rector of Matlock, who gave his address as "The Rectory, Matlock, Derbyshire". Evidently the higher average attendance of 300 at both morning and afternoon service over previous months prompted him to remark that the average number of Attendants is not by any enumeration which has been kept, but is taken in round numbers at a rough guess"...

But to return to more recent times - Kelly's Directory of 1932, under the heading of Matlock, records "Matlock Town" as "the older part of the parish, containing the mother church", and situated about half a mile south-east of Matlock station on the Midland section of the London, Midland and Scottish railway. It describes St Giles as "in the Decorated style, seated on a high rock, thickly planted". It consists of chancel, nave of three bays, aisles, south chapel added in 1898, south porch, and an embattled western tower with pinnacles, containing a clock and 9 bells, one of which bears the inscription 'Sancta Maria Magdalena O.P.N.". The nave and aisles were rebuilt in 1871, and the chancel in 1859. A stained east window was erected the same year by Lady Paxton [presumably wife/widow of Sir Joseph?] to the memory of her mother; and by then, the church had 640 sittings.

The churchyard was enlarged in 1897 and again in 1919. In 1932, the living was a rectory, in the gift of the Bishop of Derby, and had been held since 1923 by the Rev. Alban Urling Smith L.Th. of Durham University, who was also a surrogate. St John the Baptist, in "Cliff road, Matlock Dale", is mentioned as a chapel.

For more information about St Giles, and other churches in the Matlock area, see Ann Andrews' excellent webpage of Matlock Churches and Chapels.


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 SK3008159761. 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 Matlock, 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 22 Jan 2015 at 15:17.

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Further Information

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This Report was created 9 Dec 2023 - 18:04:44 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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