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Holy Trinity Church

Holy Trinity Church Interior,1907

Holy Trinity Choir, Procession of Witness, 1935 - eleven photos

Churches & Chapels

The first Vicarage for the incumbent of Matlock Bath's Holy Trinity Church was this early Victorian 16 room stone building on Brunswood Road. It was built in 1847 and Reverend Barker and his family were the first occupants[1]. Over the next century it would be the home of a further eleven vicars and their families.

In late 1853 Rev. Barker left Matlock Bath for London. He had been appointed Director of the Church Missionary Children's Home at Highbury-grove in Pilkington. Following his resignation the Rev. Edward Singe, who had previously been the curate at Clifton near Bristol, was selected by the trustees in his stead[2]. He and his wife had a lucky escape when they were knocked down when crossing the turnpike road; they fortunately only sustained a few bruises and the driver of the horse and cart was extremely contrite![3] Singe retired from the living in 1859 as he was in ill-health and passed away at Palermo Bay, Sicily[4].

He was succeeded by John Martin Maynard[5]. An obituary notice said that during his six years in Matlock Bath he was "universally beloved and respected by all classes of society"[6]. He left Matlock Bath in 1865 to take up a new post in Glasgow and to mark his departure he was presented with a black marble inlaid table and a silver salver[5]. He was buried at Holy Trinity in 1871[6]. There were more two vicars, the Reverends Evans and Woodhouse, but little is known of them at present.

When Rev Pelly preached his farewell sermon in 1874, after six years as vicar, every seat in the church was filled long before the service began. He and his family were to move to Woodford in Essex; he was, like Rev. Maynard, presented with an inlaid black marble table[7]. The Rev. Digby Ram was appointed[8] but did not last long and is not listed on the wooden boards in the church.

Edward Latham, a master at Repton school, was appointed as his successor in February 1875[8] and would take over the incumbency in April that year. His time in Matlock Bath was to end in tragedy as he, along with several members of his family, contracted typhoid fever from the vicarage's poor drainage system. Unfortunately, he did not survive the illness and passed away, aged 49, on 9 March 1883[9]. The previous vicar (if we discount Rev. Ram), Rev. Pelly, had also lost a daughter to the same illness.

Things were put to rights before Charles Baker and his family moved into the Parsonage[10]. He was the longest serving vicar and remained in the post for thirty years, preaching his last service in May 1914[11]. In his time at Matlock Bath he protested against the erection of a bandstand on Lovers' Walks and his name was inscribed on one of the bell's at Holy Trinity. It was said that he had served the parish as a faithful minister should, earning both respect and love from his parishioners. He also co-operated with the local Nonconformists. He and his successor, Rev. Askwith, exchanged livings and the Barkers moved to Pollington-cum-Barme, near Doncaster[12].

Rev. William Asquith's time at the vicarage spanned the Great War. He was present at the Great Scout Parade, Royal Hotel, 18th March 1917 and his last public act in the village was at the Unveiling of Matlock Bath's War Memorial. His wife had died not long before his departure, whilst on holiday with the family in 1920[13].

There was another exchange of livings with Rev. Askwith going to Walton-cum-Dale in Lancashire and Edward John Middlecote Davies arriving from there[14]. Davies held quite strong views on certain matters, not believing in whist drives or dances being held in the Parochial Hall, "to which people from outside the parish might flock", to meet the expenses of the church. He made these views known at the end of a concert in the Hall after allowing some dancing at the event, but with restrictions, stressing that the building belonged to the Church and was not a public building. He did, nevertheless, want people to derive benefit and pleasure from the Hall[15]. He was subsequently appointed vicar of Beeley by the Duke of Devonshire and the curate of High Barnet, Rev. Clement Thomas Walker, took over the reins[16]. He was the eighth vicar at Holy Trinity since the church had been built. He, too, caused controversy with regard to dancing and whist drives by banning both at Scarthin Mission Church though allowing dancing on the stage at a Sunday School concert in 1930[17]. He departed for a Cornish parish at the end of October 1933 so a Buxton Vicar had to step in whilst another vicar was found.

The last vicar to live in the property was Reverend Alfred Phibbs who accepted the living in 1934, moving from Bamford-cum-Burstall[18]. It was Rev. Phibbs who conducted the church service that was part of the Procession of Witness in 1935[19]. Some years later he addressed the Parochial Church Council on the subject of how few boys there were in the parish, which meant a shortage of boys who could sing in the church choir. There were girls than boys in the local day schools[20].

The vicarage subsequently moved to another, slightly smaller, property on Brunswood Road but eventually a modern vicarage was built close the church within the grounds of what had been the Royal Hotel.

In 1945 the former vicarage, which had been empty for 18 months, became a Country Club; known as The Sportsman's Country Club, whose proprietress was Mrs. Flint, it was to cater for both residential and casual visitors[21]. It was advertised for sale, with vacant possession, in May that year. Rev. Lee, the new vicar, considered it far too big for him to maintain. The study where several generations of Vicars had prepared their sermons was converted into a bar and the single storey extension on the right hand end, which appears in photos from around 1900, was the Club's dining room. The web mistress remembers the grounds being decked out with bunting and stalls about 1953 for a summer fete involving the schoolchildren from Matlock Bath School who performed a series of Country Dances. In early 1956 it was taken over by the Youth Hostel association and catered for school parties, ramblers and walkers but then became a Probationary Service office. This postcard dates from its time as a youth hostel.

The "Parsonage House" is shown on the 1848 Tithe map, between Key Pasture Wood and Upper Holme next to the main road into Matlock[22]. This was years before Holme Road or Brunswood Road were built. Later maps, such as the Ordnance Survey Country Series for 1899 (1:2500) show the long drive from Dale Road, where there was a heavy gate, up to the vicarage as well as a second entrance at the Brunswood Road/Holme Road junction. A fountain was shown in the middle of the lawn. It was there in 1880 but had gone by 1922.

There are a number of blocked up windows around the property. One can be seen on the first floor to the right of the main door and there are others on the side of the building. The web mistress always understood that they were blocked up to reduce the number of windows in the property - so there would be less "Window Tax" to pay. The Window Tax Act was not repealed until 1851, so this is quite feasible. Blank windows could have been installed, as there were with many other buildings, in readiness for reglazing. In the case of the vicarage the space would have needed a whole window to be fitted.

The house is now a privately owned.

A full list of the incumbents can be found on the photographs of the wooden boards displayed in Matlock Bath Church - see the photograph.
Matlock Bath & Scarthin Newspaper Cuttings, 1883 has a short article about the former Vicarage, when it was a less than sanitary home for the Vicar (Rev. Latham).
Matlock and Matlock Bath: Public Notices and Announcements, 1874 has details of an auction when Rev. Pelly left the property.
There is a Stereoview of Holy Trinity in the "just Images" section.

Postcard published by YHA.
Sent 2 Nov 1960 by a boy in a school party. He reported "We saw a lot of floods on the Tuesday. We got drenched. So far I have no fossils".
Postcard in the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Information written, researched by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Reverend William Gibb Barker was listed as the Curate of Matlock Bath in the 1851 census. He became the incumbent in 1842 and his name is show as the first vicar at Holy Trinity on boards in the church. He was also listed in local trade directories : Bagshaw's Directory 1846 | Kelly's Directory 1848 | White's Directory 1852. The "Illustrated London News" of 3 December 1853 announced that he had received tokens of affection and esteem on his removal, after 10 years in Matlock Bath.

[2] "Derby Mercury", 18 January 1854. Ecclesiastical Intelligence. Preferments and Appointments.
Rev. Singe can be found in Kelly's 1855 Directory | White's 1857 Directory

[3] "Derbyshire Courier", 28 February 1857. Accident and Narrow Escape from Furious Driving.

[4] "Derbyshire Courier", 15 October 1859. Deaths. "On the 9nd [sic] instant, at Palermo Bay, the Rev. Edw. Singe, late incumbent of Matlock Bath, aged 61". His widow Emily died at Freshwater in 1881.

[5] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 6 October 1865. Presentation to a clergyman.
Rev. J. M. Maynard and his family were not in residence in the 1861 census as he was in Liverpool visiting his brother with his family. His brother was chaplain of the Mariner's Church in Percy Street. He can, however, be found in White's 1862 Directory | Kelly's 1864 Directory.

[6] Derbyshire Times, 30 September 1871. Funeral of the late Revd. John Martin Maynard. MI of Rev. Maynard and his wife. There is also a tablet inside the church.

[7] Rev. Pelly and his family are shown in the 1871 census.
One of his daughter's was buried at Matlock Bath shortly before the census - see her MI.
His departure was recorded in the "Derby Mercury", 7 October 1874.

[8] "Derbyshire Times", 6 February 1875. Mentions Ram's departure and Latham's appointment.

[9] "Derbyshire Times", 17 March 1883. Death of the Vicar of Matlock Bath. He had been ill for only eight days. Edward Latham Kelly's 1876 Directory | the 1881 census | his mi.

[10] The Baker's had 6 children (from the 1911 census). They can be found in the following on-site records: the 1891 census | the 1901 census | his widow's MI

[11] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 16 May 1914. Rev Baker's last service.

[12] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 10 April 1914. Presentation at Matlock Bath (to Rev. Baker).

[14] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 10 September 1920.

[13] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 22 April 1921.

[15] "Derbyshire Times", 17 May 1924. Whist Drives and Dances. Rev. Davies was also shown in Matlock Bath in Kelly's Directory 1928.

[16] "Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal", 28 June 1929.

[17] "Derbyshire Times", 6 December 1930. Letter to the editor.

[18] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 8 January 1934.

[19] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 7 March 1935.

[20] "Derby Daily Telegraph", Derby Daily Telegraph 30 January 1943. Matlock Bath Short of Boys.

[21] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 1 September 1945. Vicar's Study is Now Bar. Later advertisements in the "Nottingham Evening Post" of 30 August 1946 and other newspapers.

[22] See the 1848 Tithe Map, Derbyshire Record Office.