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Tissington, St. Mary's Church


St. Mary's Church is situated at the heart of this lovely Derbyshire village, on rising ground on the north east side of The Green. Tissington Hall is on the same road, although not quite opposite. The side of the church tower, on the far left above, faces The Green.

The church was a chapelry under Bradbourne. During the Commonwealth period a Survey of Church Livings was conducted and, in 1650, it was recorded that "Tyssington is allso a member of Bradburne and a parsonage really worth about fortye pounds per annum. Mr. William Bott is curate, a man disaffected[1]". Reverend Bott had been ejected from Fenny Bentley but was restored to his post as the Rector there following the Restoration of the monarchy[2].

The low, massive, Norman Tower of St. Mary's is early Norman, with thirteenth century buttresses and walls that are about four feet thick[1]. Cox tells us that the chancel was re-built in the eighteenth century and the porch dates from 1817, although the door underneath is Norman and has a semicircular arch above it[1]. In 1853 the church was re-pewed with open oak seats; a north aisle was also added at the sole expense of Miss Fitz-Herbert[3], who lived in London. "The interior ... is scrupulously clean. ... There is a new chancel window of beautiful painted glass [in 1862], rich in colour and mediaeval in character, to cast its glowing tints above the crimson-covered Communion Table"[4].

In 1900 the church re-opened following repair and restoration work, during which a "modern and unsightly gallery was removed", the roofs over the nave and aisles were replaced, and a Norman archway was opened up into the tower. Plaster was removed from the wall, revealing carved Norman work over the archway leading into the chancel. Messrs. Walker and Slater of Derby were the contractors and the cost was borne by Sir Richard FitzHerbert, Bart. (who d.1906)[5]. The chancel was given a new roof in 1910[6].

Francis Redfern of Tissington wrote a number of articles for The Derby Mercury about Tissington and its church. In January 1873, he noted that in addition to the christenings, burials and marriages recorded, the church registers also contained details of collections in Tissington "to aid places and persons having sustained loss by fire"[7], although the residents seem to have supported a number of other good causes too. Below are just a few examples of the numerous collections that were made:

July 1661 12s 3d for the church of Condover, Salop
18 Aug 1661 5s 1d for the Collegiate Church at Ripon
8 Sep 1661 3s 6d for repair to Bublingbrook Church
1 Sep 1661 4s for Henry Harrison, undone by the loss of sheep of the value of 1,500 li[£]
20 April 1662 7s 6d for William Gite of Yolgrave, undone by fire, on his letter of request
8 Jan 1662 4s 4d for William Price, travelling towards London with a petition to His Majesty. This given in the hand of the said W.P.
Dec 1671 to the relief of ye captives from Turkish slavery, the sum of 1l.[£] 4s. 2d ; paid to Walter Gell, appariator
1676 18s. 4d. The poor of Northampton, who had suffered by fire
15 Jul 1668 collected then towards the relief of John Hosborn, a Russian merchant, undone by shipwreck and other desasters, the sum of 4s 3d.


The Norman font had been "ousted" for many years, having been used for baptisms for many hundreds of years; it was placed as a drinking trough for cattle amongst the cluster of trees at the top of the park" and replaced by one made from a piece of Derbyshire marble. However, by 1873 Sir William FitzHerbert "has with archeological taste, had the interesting old font brought back to its former situation and uses, in the church, and the modern and more elegant-looking one taken away. The antique font is circular, with rudely incised allegorical figures round it ... the order of the figures on the font are, from right to left, a man and a woman, followed apparently by a bear, which has the head of some creature in its mouth ..."[8].

On the north side of the chancel arch is a large monument to members of the FitzHerbert family that nearly reaches the roof. Several sources describe it as being divided into two compartments. The upper one shows two figures kneeling over a tablet inscribed to Sir John FitzHerbert, who died in 1642, and the lower section shows Francis FitzHerbert, who died in 1616.

Amongst the headstones in the churchyard is one for Thomas (d.1842) and Sarah (d.1845) Dakin, who are 4x great grandparents of the web mistress. The obituary for Thomas records that he was for "many years woodman to Sir Henry Fitz-Herbert., Bart., much respected"[9].


Tissington is mentioned in the following on-site transcripts:

Derbyshire's Parishes, 1811, Parishes T-Z, which has more about the village.

Kelly's 1891 Directory, Tissington
The Gentleman's Magazine Library, 1731-1868
The Fitzherbert family are only mentioned briefly on Derbyshire (1) | Derbyshire (2) | Derbyshire (3) |
The Wolley Manuscripts, Derbyshire - Charters, Documents & Deeds, mentions Tissington and the FitzHerbert family as well as the surnames Alsop and Beresford.


"Tissington. Church". Published by R. And R. Bull, Ashbourne, No.5188. Real Photograph. Unused. Postage rate: a half-penny stamp for inland one penny foreign..
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] Cox, J Charles (1877) "Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol II, Hundred of High Peak and Wirksworth", Chesterfield: Palmer and Edmunds, London: Bemrose and Sons, 10 Paternoster Buildings; and Derby.

[2] The Reliquary, Quarterly Journal and Review Vol. 7". (1866-7) Ed. Llewellynn Jewitt, F.S.A. Published London: Bemrose & Lothian, 21 Paternoster Row ; and John Russell Smith, 36 Soho Square Derby : Bemrose & Sons, Irongate. Extracts from the Parish Registers of Fenny-Bently by John Sleigh Esq. show Rev. Bott's long association with Fenny Bentley. He seems to have become Rector in 1642 ("inductus fuit 10 Aprilis å 1642") and the post Restoration register mentions his expulsion and his family. He was buried at Fenny Bentley on 27 Nov 1701 - "William Bott, for 43 years rector". His Will was proved 24 Apr 1702.

[3] Francis White's Derbyshire Directory, 1857.

[4] The Reliquary, Quarterly Journal and Review Vol. 3". (1862-3) Ed. Llewellynn Jewitt, F.S.A. Published London: John Russell Smith, 36 Soho Square Derby : Bemrose & Sons, Irongate. Extracted from "Well Dressing at Tissington" by Anna Mary Howitt Watts.

[5] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 9 Nov 1900. Re-opening of Tissington Church.

[6] Kelly's 1912 Directory and Kelly's 1928 Directory both provide this information, although neither say anything about the 1901 restoration.

[7] "Derby Mercury", 1 January 1873. Memorials of Tissington and Its Well Dressings, by Fr Redfern, author of History of Uttoxeter etc. Miscellaneous Events, Customs and Particulars.

[8] "Derby Mercury", 4 December 1872. Memorials of Tissington and Its Well Dressings, by Fr Redfern, author of History of Uttoxeter etc.

[9] "Derby Mercury", 6 July, 1842.



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