The Churchyard

The older, lower, part of the churchyard, containing many seventeenth and eighteenth century monuments repays inspection. There are moving epitaphs; the lettering and design of the stones, too, frequently display a refined distinction lacking in some Victorian and more recent work. The use of local stone for the monuments, now weathered and having acquired the patina of age, successfully ensures a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing setting for the church building.

The two gravestones to members of the Dawber family from the early twentieth century deserve particular attention. Sir Guy Dawber, famous for his understanding of English vernacular building, was the architect in 1897 of the Chapel of St John the Baptist on Masson hillside, the interior of which has fine Arts and Crafts furnishings and fittings. At one time a chapel-of-ease to St Giles, St John’s is now in the care of the Friends of Friendless Churches. The Dawber family lived in Derwent Avenue and their grave stones, to the west of the north aisle of the church, were clearly designed by Sir Guy or under his influence, though his name is commemorated on one of them.

The lichgate at the lower entrance to the churchyard was designed and carved by Advent Hunstone of Tideswell in 1908. At that time the eighteenth century stone gate posts here were moved outwards to allow room for the new structure and the boundary wall adapted to give aesthetic coherence to the architectural composition.

In the angle of the churchyard formed between the south face of the tower and the west wall of the south aisle of the church stands a sundial which is itself a listed structure, Grade II, although it replaces, and has probably made use of the base of, a much older, medieval, parish cross.

The upper end of the churchyard affords the visitor fine views of Matlock and the Derwent valley. The large modem cross on Pic Tor is the town war memorial.

External Links

Ann Andrews has provided extensive help with searching memorials in the churchyard on her website.