The Matlock photographer William Nathan Statham used
this picture of Matlock's St. Giles' Church, taken in 1870,
for the Christmas card that he and his wife sent out in 1903.
Whilst the tower and the churchyard are unchanged the rest
of the building looks somewhat different today.
Shortly after the photograph was taken the church closed,
the last service being held on New Year's Day, 1871. Funds
to pay for the major building work that was planned had been
raised by public subscription and Benjamin Wilson was appointed
as the architect. He advertised for builders to work on the
renovation and rebuilding project shortly before the closure.
The church was to re-open later the same year and the first
service in the rebuilt church was held on 25th October.
According to Benjamin Bryan,
all the seats in the new church were free and unappropriated,
which was the opposite of what had previously occurred. Before
1871 there had not been an unappropriated seat in the
There had been several attempts to alter or rebuild the
parish church in the past. In 1783 Richard Arkwright had
taken down the north aisle and rebuilt it, for example.
Arkwright seems to have undertaken his alterations without
the necessary permissions.
In 1760 Peter Nightingale (junior) and others rebuilt the
wall of the south aisle. Glover,
Cox and Bryan
all described the "little square factory-like windows
of the south gallery" which can be seen in the photograph.
They clearly disapproved of the pre-1870 design and layout.
The south wall was "embattled on the top" and the
porch door, too, did not escape criticism. It was "spacious
but ill-designed, projecting several yards outside the south-west
door, and on its east side adjoining the main flight of steps"
to the south gallery, which could only be reached by these
View even more about the church by clicking on the images below:
links are to more information elsewhere on this website):
 W. N. Statham first
advertised in Kelly's 1891 Directory. He was living
on Church Street in the
1891 census and in
1901 was on Dale Road. He advertised in the 1908 programme
of the Operatic Society
 "The Derby Mercury",
Wednesday, November 1, 1871. Reopening of St. Giles' Church,
 "The Derby Mercury",
Wednesday, November 30, 1870. There were at least three advertisements
during November and December 1870 for builders to contact
the Architect about rebuilding the nave of the Parish Church.
 Bryan, Benjamin (1903) "History
of Matlock - Matlock, Manor and Parish" London
by Bemrose & Sons, Limited.
 Bryan was quoting a letter from
Rev. W. R. Melville, the then Rector, about the seating.
Melville's letter was published in "The
on 27 Apr 1872.
 Glover, Stephen (1830) "The
Peak Guide; containing the topographical, statistical,
and general history of Buxton, Chatsworth, Edensor, Castlteon
[sic], Bakewell, Haddon, Matlock, and Cromford" ...
Edited by T. Noble, pub. Derby
 Cox, J Charles (1877) "Notes
on the Churches of Derbyshire Vol II" Chesterfield:
Palmer and Edmunds, London: Bemrose and Sons, 10 Paternoster
Buildings; and Derby.