|Ashover, All Saints' Parish Church, 1908
In 1908 J. B. Firth wrote: "The church, alike inside
and out, is of great interest, and its graceful tapering spire
enjoys as much local fame as the tower of Ashbourne ".
Firth described events in the village during the
English Civil War in 1646 after Eastwood Hall, the home of
the then Rector Immanuel Bourne, was destroyed by the Parliamentarians.
They had destroyed Wingfield Manor in similar fashion earlier
the same day. Firth quoted the following extract from Bourne's
"When the Roundheads had finished their work of destruction
they sang a hymn - one of exultation doubtless - and marched
down to the church in Ashover. The rector followed - just allowing
them to get a discreet distance ahead - and found to his great
surprise that Scout-Master Smedley was in the pulpit, where
he preached a sermon two hours long against Popery, priestcraft,
"But Lord,", continued the rector, "what stuff
and nonsense he did talke, and if he could have murdered the
Kyng as easily as he did the Kyng's English, the war would
long have been over." When the sermon was done, and the
troop was preparing to set off, some one drew attention to
the old stained-glass windows representing the Crucifixion.
Mattocks and bars were brought, and the windows and stone work
broken to fragments. They then ransacked the vestry, and finding
a few prayer books and the parish registers, they made a bonfire
with them in the market place and rode away singing another
psalm. The rector, to whom we owe this interesting account
of wanton mischief wrought in Ashover during a long summer
day, survived his misfortunes for many years. He died and was
buried in Leicestershire. Thus he had no monument in Ashover
Church, though there is one to his son Obadiah, who succeeded
him as patron and rector, and there are many memorials of his
descendants, of his name and the name of Nodder ".
Ashover's lead font:
Rev. Cox wrote in 1875 that lead fonts are uncommon and
suggested an earliest date of around 1150 for the one
It is circular and embossed, with twenty figures standing
beneath semi-circular arches, each holding a book in
the left hand".
The post war architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner
said it was the most important Norman font in the county.
He added that the bowl is very small - only two feet
The brother and sister of my 3Xg grandmother, John and Elizabeth
Nuttall, would have been baptised at this font in the 1780s.
blocked up north doorway, with "an ogee-shaped arch
and pierced projecting tracery " is
of the Decorated period, so dates from the middle of the
14th century. The south doorway (not shown) dates from the
reign of Edward I but "the rest of the fabric is of the 15th
1. Illustration by Nellie Erichsen from Firth.
2. Images of Font and North Doorway have been extracted from
Cox . The drawings
of the font and the doorway were from drawings by Mr. Bailey
and others (not named) and from plates produced by Bemrose of
In the collection of, provided by and © Ann
Written, reasearched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
 Firth, J. B. (1908) "Highways
and Byways in Derbyshire" MacMillan & Co.,
London. The quotations from Immanuel Bourne were contained
in a letter he wrote in 1646 to a cousin in Manchester.
Illustrations from the same book.
 Cox, J Charles (1875) "Notes
on the Churches of Derbyshire Vol I" Chesterfield:
Palmer and Edmunds, London: Bemrose and Sons, 10 Paternoster
Buildings; and Derby, The Hundred of Scarsdale.
 Cox, John Charles, (1915, 2nd
edition, revised), "Derbyshire" - Illustrated
by J. Charles Wall, Methuen & Co., London.
 Pevsner, Nikolaus (1953) "The
Buildings of England. Derbyshire", Penguin Books,
Also see, elsewhere on this web site:
Kelly's 1891 Directory
Gentleman's Magazine Library has a section on Ashover
and mentions the Bourne memorials
Parishes, 1811 (A) includes a short piece about