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Bakewell All Saints Church

The architecture of All Saint's Church in Bakewell dates back to Anglo Saxon times. It makes a huge point of interest, as well as being a really beautiful church and a landmark for Bakewell itself, its octagonal spire is very unusual for its time period. Most church spires in the area are a regular octagon shape, having all sides the same size and all at the same angle to each other but Bakewell Church is different. Its spire is built in the shape of a crucifix. 


Bakewell All Saints Church


It was completely rebuilt by the Normans in the 12th century, erasing all traces of its Anglo Saxon architectural style but some relics from that time period still exist today. The churchyard is home to two 9th century Saxon crosses. One of them is a large but somewhat damaged one in an enclosure on the North East side huge but there is a smaller much better preserved stump, which was found at a local farm and re-sited there, just to the east of the main entrance. There is much more interesting detail to see actually inside the church itself.

In and around the porch are many fine carved fragments of Saxon stone work , around 40 Anglo Saxon stones, the largest collection in the world, which were found during restoration work on the church in the 1840s. Local historians believe they have at last unlocked some of their secrets recently, now knowing that the stones date back to 920AD when King Edward the Elder ruled England and Scotland as far north of the Forth and Clyde. There are also some very interesting ancient stone coffins on view.


Bakewell All Saints Church Saxon Stonework

 

When Alfred the Great died in 899, he was succeeded by his son, Edward the Elder as King of Wessex. Edward the Elder is best known for his conquest of all England south of the Humber, after the Viking invasions of the previous century. By 917 his elder sister had taken Derby which then became the northern frontier of King Edward's kingdom. By 920 King Edward had built a fort at Bakewell and according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 'The King Of The Scots' and all those who lived in Northumbria, who were English, Danish and Norse, chose Edward as their father and Lord due to his prowess from building the fort at Bakewell. This was the time when the major religion converted from paganism to Christianity, so Bakewell church has played a great part in religious history.

 

Bakewell All Saints Church Door

 

 

In 2008 local historians preserved the 40 Anglo-Saxon sculptures to discover how many more messages were contained. The stones which all have pictures carved into them explain how the tribes in northern England were called together in Bakewell and agreed to live under one single Lord and one religion. The historical society members plan to apply for funding to have the stones moved back inside the church to be preserved and studied further.

 

The church of present day was started in the late Norman style in 12th century, but only the West front and part of the North and South arcades of the nave survive from this period. The rest was built from 1220- 40 with the spire added in 1340. The drastic renovation took place in the 1840s, which was almost another rebuilding and the spire, which was in danger of collapse, was completely rebuilt along with the central portion of the church. 

 

Bakewell All Saints Church Doorway


Bakewell was the town of Vernon family, which later became the Manners family and the church has some interesting relics of them, plus a fine 14th century font. In the chapel, off to the South, there are some magnificent tombs containing John Vernon of Haddon Hall, who died in 1477 and of St George Vernon and his two wives. Sir George was known as 'The King Of The Peak' and died in 1567, but his main claim to fame was that he was the father of Dorothy Vernon, who famously eloped with Sir John Manners. The church also has a monument at the south end of the chapel, while at the opposite end; there is a monument to their son, George Manners and his wife Grace. There is also the tomb of Sir Thomas Wendesley, who was killed in the battle of Shrewsbury in 1403.

 

Bakewell All Saints Church Doorway


Outside the church is a much smaller and very beautiful monument, that of Sir John Foljambe , who died in 1377 and his wife, carved in Alabaster.

Today, Bakewell Parish Church is part of the Church of England and the Dioceses of Derby. They offer refreshment and teaching to all those who were trying to follow the Christian way, with traditional and not so traditional services in a variety of styles. They have catered for children who are especially welcome, with 'All Age' Services And 'Tots And Teds', As Well As 'The Explorers Wonder Zone.' 


The church is very peaceful and a beautiful place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the little market town. It's so quiet there and to be able to stroll around in peace, can also give you a sense of history as you can read all the inscriptions on the tombstones dating back years and years. 

 

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