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Matlock: St. Giles' Church, 1890s.
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These views of the south side and western end of St. Giles' shows the church, photographed from near the small top gateway. The churchyard was well maintained. The headstones cannot quite be read, but the monumental mason of the left hand grave closest to the camera in the top image was a T. Buckley and, having checked which memorials Mr. Buckley carved in this section of the churchyard, it marks the grave of William and Ann Capper Starkey. Ann was buried on 7 June 1890 and William on 16 August 1902, so William's name was not on the headstone when this photo was taken. On a personal note, further away and not quite opposite the tower, are several sets of railings around the graves one of which commemorates relatives on the family tree of the web mistress.

In 1892, the year the second image was first published, the church received a number of gifts. Dr. William Harrison, J.P., one of the Churchwardens, gave what was described as a valuable and much-needed present to the Rector and those who would succeed him. Rev. J. W. Kewley explained the real need for the doctor's generosity:

"For a long time past the Rector and Churchwardens have had it on their minds that the parish registers ought to be in a more secure place of keeping than the old iron chest provided for them in 1813, when Rev. Phillip Gell was curate in charge of the parish. But the money was the difficulty, the funds in the Churchwarden's hands being barely sufficient to meet the ordinary Church expenses. However, it was decided - taking into account the great importance of preserving the registers, which go back as far as 1637 - that a safe should be bought at once, the generosity of a few of the parishioners being relied on to find the sum required ; and Dr. Harrison and Mr. Statham made a journey to Manchester for the purpose of making this purpose. The best safe that could be had, of suitable size, and with all of the improvements, was, as might be expected, the one which they selected, and the price was £25. Dr. Harrison has handsomely paid the whole sum, and presented the safe as his Christmas gift to the parish. We take this opportunity of offering him our hearty thanks"[1].

There was also another gift from a lady who had recently come to reside in Matlock and who was anxious the children in the parish should enjoy themselves. As well as sending hundreds of cards she also sent a large number of oranges that the rector distributed. The junior choir and those who both trained them and helped at the services were entertained in the schoolroom, thanks to Mrs. Bailey[1] . Rev. Kewley was always anxious to ensure his parishioners were thanked.

In 1892 there was some concern that sundials might disappear.
"At Matlock Parish Church there is a pillar near the main entrance where a dial is still to be seen"[2].

It was resolved to deal with much needed improvements in the church and churchyard at a meeting of church workers held in December 1894. Amongst the items discussed was a new organ chamber plus rebuilding and repairing the organ, decorating the chancel, a tool house for the sexton and enlarging the churchyard. There was a bazaar in the following May to help raise funds[3] .

In early 1896 Wm. Harrison, J.P. passed away. He had done a great deal for the church during his time in Matlock. "The deceased was beloved by all classes, and especially in the church with which he had been most intimately associated for about 20 years. He had served as a lay reader, a churchwarden and a supporter of good Christian work within the parish"[4]. His sister Margaret gave many gifts to the church in his memory. W. Statham was re-appointed Warden and Mr. Joseph Sladen became the parishioner's warden in place of Dr. Harrison[5] .

An announcement that the new burial ground was to be consecrated shortly was made towards the end of 1896. Mr. F. C. Arkwright of Willersley had sold the land to the church at half its proper value (it had been £50 per acre). As a result of the additional land, Matlock had space for burials for years to come, so there was no need for a cemetery[6].

1897 was a year for some major decisions for the church. The Rector and Churchwardens announced their plans, which they had been working on for some time. It was felt that if the church was to be enlarged, then it ought to be on a scale that prevented further extensions in the future. So a south aisle was to be added to make the church more symmetrical, and these views of the church was to be changed. It was also planned to place a chapel on the same side to correspond with the one the organ where the organ is in on the north side[7]. In total there would be approximately 140 additional sittings. And it was also to be completed before Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee[8].

You may like to view more onsite information:
The Nineteenth Century Lists: Church Fundraising, 1886 - 1895. Church Bazaar at Matlock, 1895
Rectors of St Giles' from 1300
Matlock Parish Church Baptisms, Marriages & Burials
Memorial Inscriptions - a Surnames Index
Matlock St Giles', MIs in the Church
Famous Derbyshire Health Resorts. The Matlocks, about 1892 - Part 1 mentions the church.
Matlock & Matlock Bath: Inspiration of Poets. A poem by M. S. about the churchyard in 1874.

View even more about the church by clicking on the images below:

1. "Matlock Church". No publisher. Posted on 30 Mar 1907 at Matlock Bridge. Good Easter Wishes &c Love Dad to Miss Gardland, Northfield, Birmingham. This card has a front side bar for messages, but a divided back.
2. "Parish Church, Matlock". Valentine's Series. No.17464. First published 1892. Posted 18 Feb 1908 and sent to Formby LAN.
Postcards in the collection of and provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
References (coloured links are to transcripts and information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] "Derbyshire Times", 23 January 1892. Mr. Harrison was the People's/Parishioner's Warden and Mr. Statham the Churchwarden.

[2] "ibid.", 20 August 1892. An article had been published in the Strand Magazine about sundials, with the concern that they may disappear.

[3] "The Derby Mercury", 22 May 1895

[4] "Derbyshire Times", 8 February 1896. Report of the funeral service. Dr. Harrison can be found in the 1881 census | the 1891 census | Kelly's 1891 Directory | Kelly's 1895 Directory. Memorials to him include the Harrison Almshouses.

[5] "ibid.", 11 April 1896.

[6] "ibid.", 5 December 1896.

[7] "ibid.", 20 March 1897. Matlock Parish Church. The Proposed Enlargement. The ancient embattled structure, dedicated to St. Giles, at Matlock Town, is about to be enlarged and renovated.

[8] "ibid.", 10 April 1897. A further vestry meeting considered the proposed enlargement.