Derbyshire Places of Worship

We have 3 Images St Mary the Virgin's Church, Wensley (South Darley) (1) St Mary the Virgin's Church, Wensley (South Darley) (2) St Mary the Virgin's Church, Wensley (South Darley) (3) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Paul Slater/Alf Beard
St Mary the Virgin's Church, Wensley (South Darley)
St Mary the Virgin's Church,
Eversleigh Rise (B5057),
Wensley (South Darley), 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 1845, and we understand it is still open.

Kelly's Directory of 1932 describes South Darley (or Wensley) as an Urban district comprising the area of Wensley and Snitterton township, and including in addition the hamlets of Oakerside, Darley Bridge and Cross Green. The parish is about 1 mile north from Darley Dale station on the Matlock and Buxton section of the London, Midland and Scottish railway, 4 north-west from Matlock and 153 from London. The parish is connected with North Darley by a bridge over the [river] Derwent, and was governed by a Local Board from 1863 until the Local Government Act, 1894, established an Urban District Council. The ecclesiastical parish was formed in 1845 from Darley Dale.

The return to the Religious Census of 1851 (HO 129/449/2/6/13) for "St Mary's", in the township of "Wensley & Snitterton" is disappointing for a building whose history should have been well known at the time. It was said to be erected "about 10 years" [ago], with 240 sittings, all free. The form was not the usual one for Church of England returns, and probably completed by someone other than the Incumbent, so the information was limited to the bare minimum of usual number of attendants on the Sabbath - 20 in the morning, and 24 in the afternoon, with 10 Sunday Scholars attending morning classes.

White's Directory of Sheffield and 20 miles round for 1852 records it as "Cross Green Church [which] stands on a commanding eminence". White's Directory of Derbyshire for 1857 is more forthcoming, describing St Mary's under the heading of "Snitterton" - "at Cross Green, a commanding eminence, a district Church, dedicated to St Mary, has been erected to accommodate 226 persons, of which only 12 seats are appropriated. The Rev. Benj. Lawrence, (late rector of Darley), who died Feb. 18th, 1838, left £1,000 towards building this church, on the condition, that it was commenced within two years after his decease... the first stone was laid 17th February, 1840, by Peter Walthall, Esq., and it was consecrated 19th June, 1845. It is a perpetual curacy, value, £60; the Rector of Darley, patron, the Rev. William Belcher, incumbent. It is a neat stone structure in the Norman style, with a tower, spire, and one bell, said to be a copy of a church at Troyes, in Normandy".

The story is continued in Kelly's Directory of 1932 - the church of St Mary, "erected in 1843, is a building of stone, in the Norman style, consisting of chancel, nave of one bay and a tower on the south-west [corner] containing one bell". The chancel was added in 1886, and further restoration was carried out in 1891, when a stained window was presented by Mr. Joseph Taylor of Manchester. There is also a window erected by Mr. C.K. Hall, one placed by parishioners in 1903 to the Rev. John W.W. Booth M.A. vicar here 1882-92, and one erected in 1911 to the Rev. Everard Evered by his children.

The register dates from 1845. The living in 1932 remained a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the rector of Darley, and had been held since 1893 by the Rev. Edward Augustus Hadfield, of Lichfield Theological College.

There may be more information available by by selecting one or more of the accompanying images on the right.


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 SK2677361498. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Information last updated on 19 Jan 2015 at 13:10.

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This Report was created 29 Nov 2023 - 02:54:52 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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