|Melbourne Parish Church, St. Michael and St.
Simon Jenkins included just two Derbyshire churches in his
top hundred, awarding them both four stars .
Melbourne was one and St. Oswald's at Ashbourne the other.
It is not hard to see why he rated them both so highly.
Melbourne Church was built in the 11th century, so belongs
from the early Norman era of church architecture. J. Charles
Cox pointed out the resemblance of the central tower to that
of Norwich Cathedral, which dates from 1090 ,
though the upper part is much more recent. The 1877 photograph
of the exterior, above, is from the frontispiece of one of
his books on Derbyshire's churches.
"The circular pillars between the nave and the aisles
[shown above] are 4 ft. in diameter and 15 ft. high. Above
the nave arches are arcades opening on clerestory windows,
but the two sides are different dates, that on the south having
been built in the 13th century, probably on account of fire,
of which there are certain traces. The argument in favour of
the nave having been roofed with stone groining are irresistible
; at all events the church was planned with that intention.
The inner walls of the central tower are divided into three
tiers of arcading ".
Melbourne Church was restored by Sir Gilbert Scott in 1862.
"The font [illustrated above], which stands under the south
portico, is 28 in. in diameter and 37 in. in height. It consists
of a circular bowl supported by four columns. We believe it to
be Early English work early in the reign of Henry III., and
co-eval with the south clerestory arcade ".
It was here that several of the web mistress's Hatton ancestors
were baptised and married, both before and after Scott's restoration.
||Capital on the north west column in the nave.
Of note are the equal armed crosses with four discs
or pellets in the corners. Thomas Tudor suggests that
they may have some reference to Ostrid or Ostrith,
wife of Ethelred King of Mercia. She was the daughter
of Osws, king of Northumbria. "According to the
Saxon Chronicles this queen was slain hereabouts in
the year 679" .
1. Melbourne Church (about 1877), Heliotype from photograph by
R. Keene, by H. M. Wright and Co.. Plate I, Cox .
2. Postcard of "Melbourne Church, Interior" published
by E. Martin, Melbourne, Derby. No date.
3. The drawing of the font was from a series drawings by Mr.
Bailey and others (not named) and from plates produced by Bemrose
of Derby. Plate XVII, Cox .
4. "Norman Capital, Melbourne". Pen and ink drawing by Thomas
In the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.
 Jenkins, Simon (1999) "England's
Thousand Best Churches", Allen Lane, The Penguin Press,
Penguin Books Ltd., 27 Wright's Lane, London, W8 5TZ, England,
 Cox, John Charles, (1915, 2nd edition,
revised), "Derbyshire" - Illustrated by J. Charles
Wall, Methuen & Co., London.
 Cox, J Charles (1877) "Notes
on the Churches of Derbyshire Vol III" Chesterfield: Palmer
and Edmunds, London: Bemrose and Sons, 10 Paternoster Buildings;
and Derby, The Hundreds of Appletree and Repton and Gresley.
 Thomas Linthwaite Tudor (1926) "The
High Peak to Sherwood, The hills and dales of old Mercia",
published London by Robert Scott.
Melbourne is mentioned in the following on-site transcripts: