Saint Michael and All Angels Church, Sheldon, Derbyshire
High on the Derbyshire Moors well hidden behind the main street of Sheldon Village is the village church. As churches go it is not that old being built in 1865. There once was a small chapel in the village but I am unclear were that was located but in anycase it was demolished when the new Church, dedicated to Saint Michael and All Angels, was constructed.
Surrounded by trees to protect it from the high winds that often blow across the moors, the exterior is squat and plain with one rounded end but notably a very distinctive high roof…once you step inside you can admire the wood beams that are needed to support this high roof.
Note the suspended lights. They were originally Oil Lamps but when electricity arrived were converted. Simple and plain St Michaels is a spacious and peaceful place of worship for the villagers.
But take time to explore the Graveyard ( I guess there are more folk buried here than live in the village today). Read the stones and you soon can tell for yourself some of the history of the area.
Sheldon I have called a village but in reality it is one main street with houses each side and the odd farm. At one time an Inn and a School were part of the street but these are long gone, though the old school is now the village hall.
Sheldon like many Derbyshire villages in this area known as the White Peak, hides the fact that this was once a very industrious and busy region. Sheldon was one of the main Lead Mining Centres. Walk in any direction and you will soon stumble upon an old Lead ‘Rake’ or traces of a deeper mine shaft. The gravestones provide testament to the dangers of being a one of the lead miners.
Lead Mining dates back to Roman times but at its height in the 17/18oo’s ….but Sheldons Magpie Mine regularly modernised and managed to struggle on till 1958 when it finally closed….
Magpie Mine, Sheldon
Magpie Mine is now the centre of the Peak District Mines Historical Society a very fitting use for these old buildings. There is the Agent’s House, Powder House, the Smoke Stack and Pump House where once stood a ‘Cornish Beam Engine’, Winding House and even a Horse powered winch.
Like Sheldon itself the mine and Saint Michaels will tell its own story for those who spend a little time to explore…..it will be time well spent.
(C) David Oakes 2016