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Matlock: St. Giles Parish Church, Lych Gate
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St. Giles, Lych Gate
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Statham's 1908 photo of the lych gate is on the Photographers page

The first known dated picture of the old oak lych gate at St. Giles was published in 1908, the year it was constructed, and appeared on the annual Christmas greetings card sent out by Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Statham[1] (shown elsewhere on the site). The gate was not one of the items dedicated by the Bishop of Southwell earlier in the year, following a gift from Miss Harrison and another from the Will of Mr. Henry Knowles of Burton-upon Trent and Matlock[2]. It had been presented to the church by Miss Lawton, in memory of her aunt and uncle Mr. and Mrs. Henry Knowles of Knowleston Place[3]. The entrance had been widened, with the stone pillars and their ball finials moved outwards, to accommodate the lych gate and railings (compare this picture with one taken a short time earlier). It is also highly likely that the original gates were re-used, cut down to form the railings fixed into the top of the wall on either side of the gate.

The Arts and Crafts style gateway is at the bottom end of the churchyard, close to Stoney Way. Although it was erected before the first world war it was not mentioned in the Ward Lock Guides until the1920s and 1930s when the "modern" lych gate was said to be "finely carved"[4]. In 1937 Arthur Mee wrote that "a handsome lych gate opens to the fine churchyard"[5]. The gate is first shown on the 1922 Ordnance Survey County Series 1:2,500 Map and on the 6" map of 1924. The view of the church from where these pictures were taken has hardly changed in the intervening years.

C. A. Peters, Ltd[8]., advertisement

An advertisement card of C. A. Peters, Ltd.[8], dates from a similar time as the top postcard and describes the lych gate at Matlock Parish Church as having been treated with the famous Carbolineum Avenarius wood preserver[6]. This was a non-corrosive preserver that both stained the wood and had long lasting qualities. It was created in Germany in 1875 by Mr. Avenarius and became widely used. The firm of C. A. Peters of Derby was owned by Charles Augustus Peters who had lived at Guilderoy in Matlock Bath and had saved the land at Artists' Corner[9].

Perhaps taken a couple of years later,
but the postal rates printed on the reverse of the card indicate a date of pre-1918.

In 1969 Ken Russell made the film "Women in Love", based on the D H Lawrence novel. A marriage scene filmed outside the church featured the paths on either side of the gate, as well as the churchyard.

We learn from the Parish Church Guide[7], written in the same year as the film was made, that although little is known of his life St. Giles was the patron saint of cripples, beggars and blacksmiths. The church celebrates St. Giles' Day on 1st September each year.

You may like to view more onsite information
Rectors of St Giles' from 1300
Matlock Parish Church Baptisms, Marriages & Burials
Memorial Inscriptions - a Surnames Index
Matlock St Giles', MIs in the Church

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


1. Top image: "St. Giles Church, Matlock". Published by C. Colledge, Stationer, Matlock. No.670/15. Not posted, but another card was posted in 1917. In the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
2. C. A. Peters advertisement In the collection of, provided by and © Ken Smith.
3. "Matlock Parish Church". The Milton Series, Woolstone Bros. Renowned for Local Views, London EC1. Printed at the works in Saxony, ½d. Stamp inland, 1d abroad.
All research provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured hyperlinks are to transcripts elsewhere on this web site):

[1] 1908 Christmas postcard in a private collection. It was taken in the winter and is a photograph of the church and the gate, with "The Studio, Matlock, Christmas Greetings 1908. The Best of Good Wishes from Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Statham" on the back. The image is elsewhere on the site.

[2] Reported in both the "Sheffield Independent", 10 February 1908 and "Derbyshire Courier", 15 February 1908.

[3] "Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 28 August 1908. It was described as being made of old oak. The gate had been approved by the Council in June of that year ("Sheffield Daily Telegraph", 25 June 1908). This was the same Henry Knowles who had made a gift to the church in his Will.

[4] The gate is described in several guides from the inter war period, but not in those published before World War 1.

[5] Mee, Arthur (ed.) (1937) "Derbyshire: The Peak Country", The King's England Series, Hodder and Stoughton Limited, London

[6] From Ken Smith.

[7] "Matlock Parish Church, Derbyshire" (1969) Pictorial Guide and Souvenir, The Church Publishers, Ramsgate.

[8] C. A. Peters first began making Carbolineum Wood Preservative about 1900 ("Derby Daily Telegraph", 8 May 1935). In 1900 the firm was Messrs. Peters, Bartsch & Co., but became C. A. Peters, Ltd in 1902.

[9] See Biographies (P) and Matlock Dale: Artists' Corner from Pic Tor