The early 1830s engraving of St. Martin's Church (above) shows
what the building was like before the Victorian restoration
of 1868-9. Stephen Glover, writing about Alfreton in 1833,
provided a brief history to accompany the image. "The
church is an ancient rude structure, with some handsome perpendicular
windows, and pinnacled tower steeple at the west end embattled;
the whole structure has evidently been built at several different
times, with but little regularity of form. One of the lords
of Alfreton was the builder of this church; for it appears
that in the ninth year of the reign of Henry II. Robert, the
son of Ranulph, gave it to Beauchief abbey, of which he was
the founder. In the second year of the reign of Edward VI.
the king granted it to Thomas Babington, who had then become
the proprietor of the manor. The church is dedicated to St.
The rectory of Alfreton, with the advowson of the vicarage,
was granted by Henry VIII. to Francis Leake, esq. whose descendant,
Nicholas Earl of Scarsdale, sold them; in 1673, to John Turner,
of Swanwick, gent. The rectorial tithes were sold by auction,
about the year 1779, chiefly to the several land owners, by
the trustees of the late George Turner, esq. The advowson of
the vicarage was purchased by the late George Morewood, esq.
and now belongs to William Palmer Morewood, esq. The present
incumbent is the Rev. John Pepper. There was a chantry in the
church of Alfreton, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The lands
belonging to which, of the value of £8. 4s. 8d. per annum,
were granted by Edward VI. to Thomas Babington".
The church had been built for a population two thirds
less than that of the 1860s. The interior was filled
with "cumbrous piles of carpentry"; pews were of
every shape and size and there were various galleries, presumably
to try to accommodate everyone.
The architects of the 1868-9 design were Messrs.
Hine and Son of Nottingham, with the work contracted to Messrs.
C. Wright and R. Johnson of Nottingham, supervised by Mr Alfred
Appleton of Derby (the Clerk of Works). The church was greatly
enlarged, given a new roof and some of the original windows
were incorporated into the bigger building. The sacrarium
floor was covered with Minton tiles and the church was "warmed
by one of Boulton's furnaces for the circulation of warm air".
There was also a new organ, built by Mr. C. Brindley
of Sheffield. St. Martin's was re-opened by the Bishop of Lichfield
on Thursday 5 August 1869, with many local clergy in attendance.
The heliotype photograph of the porch dates from slightly
after this restoration and was taken in 1875 for J. C. Cox's
first volume about Derbyshire's churches.
We can see the new roof, the apex of which was roughly level
with the top of the clock on the south face of the tower. In
the left bottom corner is a gravestone:
In Memory of William Everingham
Died February 4th
---- Aged 72 Years
William Everingham was buried on 11 Feb 1837 and his obituary
notice in "The Derby Mercury" said: "Also
at the same place [Alfreton], and same day [Saturday last], Mr.
Everingham, cooper, after a lingering illness. He was a very
honest upright man, and much respected."
St. Martin's Church contains monumental brasses to the Ormond
family, and tablets and inscriptions to the Moorwoods and others.
Black's Guide of 1888 noted the 14th century porch, the
reredos of Derbyshire alabaster and the arch from the
nave into the tower as containing early English work.
"The only other memorial of that period is a slab, incised
with the head of a sepulchral cross; it was found beneath the
pavement of the chancel and in 1894 was fixed in the chancel
wall and protected in front by a sheet of plate-glass".
The third image was taken outside the churchyard, showing a pretty
wrought iron arch over the gateway. Around the turn of the
century "the churchyard was kept in very good condition
during the summer months, a special fund being raised for the
Amongst the memorials inside the church are several that stand
out from the
late nineteenth and early to mid twentieth century. "In 1894 a stained window was erected to the memory
of Tom Herring Bingham, son of the late Dr. Bingham, who was
drowned at Eastwood, Notts, on Friday, 12 Aug. 1892, while
attempting to save the life of Cecilie Barber, aged 5 years,
who had fallen off a steam launch at Lamb's close.... Another
memorial window was erected in 1907, to William Wooding Nelson
and his son, who were drowned at Sutton-on-Sea, Aug. 1906".
There are also poignant memorials to those killed in the Boer
War, World War One and World War Two.
 Glover, Stephen (1833) "The
History and Gazetteer of the County of Derby ..." Edited
by T. Noble. pub. Derby and London.
 "The Derby Mercury",
Wednesday 11 August 1869.
 Cox, J Charles (1875) "Notes
on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol I, Hundred of Scarsdale",
Chesterfield: Palmer and Edmunds, London: Bemrose and Sons, 10
Paternoster Buildings; and Derby.
 "The Derby Mercury",
8 February 1837. One of the executors of his Will was S. Everingham
of Oxford Street, London.
 "Black's Tourist Guide to
Derbyshire", (1888) pub. Adam and Charles Black Edinburgh.
 "Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire",
The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire
Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811