Chapels and Altars

There are three altars at Saint Giles. Each is used by the Clergy for different services throughout the week. The High altar is used for Sunday services and greater festitval services. The Lady chapel altar is used for private prayer and some weekday services. The Guild altar is also used for some weekday services.

The High Altar is situated in the Chancel. To mark the significance of the sanctuary as the earthly meeting-point between God and man a lamp burns perpetually here in its ruby glass. This lamp serves also as the Parish Church’s memorial to the men of Matlock who gave their lives in the second world war: their names are inscribed in a book in a window recess on the south side of the chancel. In 1969, the east window was filled with stained glass and the sanctuary improved by the removal of dark oak panelling, the cleaning of the stone-work and redecoration. The kneelers at the alter rail designed by the Reverend L. N. Childs, were made in 1970 by a group of seven people associated with the life and worship of the church.

The Lady Chapel, set apart in honour of Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, is situated at the east end of the south aisle. In a fine modern aumbry, the Blessed Sacrament is perpetually reserved. The aumbry, set in the pillar to the left of the altar, has a fluted bronze door. In accordance with the usual custom, a white light burns before the Blessed Sacrament, to declare the presence of Our Lord, the Light of the world, there made known to us in the forms of Bread and Wine. Because of this holy presence, the Lady Chapel is reserved for prayer. Visitors should enter only for that purpose and should preserve absolute silence.

In the north aisle there is another chapel of considerable interest. It represents a revival in the modern age of the spirit behind the medieval “guild” chapels. This expressed itself in the will to consecrate to God art, craft, work and human relationships in industry, trade and society, leisure and adventure. The modern Guild Chapel in St. Giles’ dedicated in 1955, was furnished entirely by gifts from local industries and crafts. The centre piece is the altar, made of Hopton stone, sensitively designed by Mr Colin Shewring, who also designed the aumbry in the Lady Chapel.