Sunday…..So Off to Church


Saint Giles, Hartington, Derbyshire.  

Sheltered from the North Winds, Saint Giles stands on an outcrop above the village of Hartington. By all accounts the main church structure was completed in or arround 1250. Like most Derbyshire Churches, and I suspect many more across England, it is suggested that the foundations are probably laid upon an earlier place of worship. Over the intervening centuries the church has been modified and added to.


The Nave is broad and edged with solid columns and low sweeping arches leading you forward to the Chancel and Sanctuary…


This is the oldest part of the original building which today is dominated by a towering  glass window. The decoration of this window was added in 1848 and the work of Thomas Wilmshurst a famous Glass Artist


Apart from the East Sanctuary Window there are several others worth your attention.

The simple style of the South window (in the South Transept) is just as eye catching….central and towards the lower half of this have been insert fragments of a larger medieval glass window.  It is a simple circle within which you can make out the Star of David, not a great deal is known as to its history other than the glass is most certainly older than the church.  The Angels above are very similar in style to the East Window….


Look upwards in the South Transept and you will see some Wood Panel paintings.  they date from about 1690/1710 and depict the Tribes of Israel also refered to as the Sons of Jacob.  To the side of these is a large Bass Drum.  The Crest depicted on the Drum is that of the The Hartington Volunteers, a local militia from the mid 1800’s.  They were eventually incorporated into Sherwood Foresters Regiment.


Whilst you are gazing upwards you will also find high on the walls of the Nave you will see some fragments of early Wall paintings.  It is more than likely these would have graced all the nave walls but only these remain and visually so clear following restoration in 1985 and could possibly be Royal Coat of Arms.


Before leaving the church let’s take a look at just one more of the colourfully crafted windows.  This one is in the North Aisle and is based upon the parable of the talents, a fitting tribute to a local family of craftsmen


Saint Giles is a large Parish Church, its size reflecting the importance of the village over the centuries. Mining and Quarrying have been key industries but Farming in particular Sheep and Dairy Farming have added to the communities wealth over the years.  Like many villages their importance has diminished.  Hartingtons most significant loss is the Old Creamery….it was one of the few designated producers of the famous Stilton Cheese, producing over a 1/4 of the World’s total Stilton production. But it is a common factor of modern economics….. a major conglomerate acquired the Dairy and not long after moved production elsewhere.  But Hartingtons fame also has links with Izaak Walton and his fishing exploits on the River Dove in the historic publication The Complete Angler.  Come and explore.


30th October

(C) David Oakes 2016