Derbyshire Places of Worship

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St James's Church, Smisby
St James's Church,
Forties Lane / Annwell Lane,
Smisby, 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 in 1068, and we understand it is still open.

Kelly's Directory of 1932 describes St James's Church as "a building of grey sandstone, consisting of chancel, clerestoried nave, south aisle, south porch and an embattled western tower, containing a clock and 2 bells, dated respectively 1617 and 1622". It was chiefly erected in the 14th century, with the tower, in Perpendicular style, added towards the close of the 15th century. The nave is separated from the aisle by three low pointed 14th century arches, and has a flat roof supported by seven moulded tie beams. The chancel and tower walls are panelled with oak of 16th century date, carved in the linen fold pattern. In the chancel is a handsome monument to Henry Kendall, d.1627, with kneeling figures of himself and his wife, nine sons and seven daughters below and an inscription. Against the west wall is a large alabaster slab with the figure of a lady sculptured in slight relief and an inscription, now almost defaced, identified as the monument of Joan, daughter and heiress of Comyn of Smisby, and wife, first of William de Shepey, and afterwards of Sir William de Bakepuz - she died 3rd March 1350. The parish records date from 1679.

An account of St James on the Diocese of Derby - Parish Churches website records that the foundation of the building was laid earlier than recorded above. Their account says the first building was a chapel built in 1068 by the Monks of Repton - this now forms the south aisle. It also records that the above-mentioned Joan Comyn became the owner of the manor of Smisby after her husband William Shep[e]y (who she'd married in 1300) died, and she added the nave and chancel.

The church is situated on top of a rounded hill, on one side of the junction of Forties Lane with Annwell Lane and Main Street. The War Memorial, a stone cross, erected originally as a memorial to the men of the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-1918, is set on one side of the grassy triangle where the roads meet.

The return for St James to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/414/2/7/12), for a total of 20 free sittings, and 160 appropriated sittings was completed by Benton Dawes, the Registrar "from my own Knowledge". He also completed the returns for Hartshorne "from inquiry".

For further information on the building, and a very attractive photograph, showing it atop its rounded hill you may want to visit St James's Church webpage on Smisby Village website.


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 SK3479519129. 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 Smisby, 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 16 Oct 2013 at 12:00.

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Further Information

This site provides historical information about churches, other places of worship and cemeteries. It has no affiliation with the churches or congregations themselves, nor is it intended to provide a means to find places of worship in the present day.

Please also remember that whilst the above account may suggest that St James's Church remains open and accessible, this may not remain so.

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This Report was created 9 Dec 2023 - 17:38:16 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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