St Mary and All Saints’ Parish Church, Chesterfield

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September, 2018

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This follows on from the review I wrote about the history of the church.

The church is equally as large and impressive inside as it is on the outside and there is so much to see and admire in it. It is a cruciform church with a large nave with altars at the ends of the side aisles. The main altar has now been moved under the crossing. The chancel contains the high altar with two side chapels on either side. There are smaller chapels on either side of these.

The rood beam with Christ crucified with St John and the Virgin Mary was designed by Temple Moore in 1915. The rood screen behind the crossing altar has small carvings of four English kings; Edward the confessor, Henry III, Richard II and William IV.

St Oswald’s Chapel with its plain altar are at the end of the north aisle. The stained glass window beside dates from 1960 and represents the saints of the Saxon church. Next to it is the St Francis window. On a pillar near this is a C16th figure of a seated Christ with a crown of thorns.

St Peter’s Chapel is at the end of the south aisle and was also installed here in 1939. The beautiful gilded reredos commemorates two servers who were killed during the Second World War. The window beside it on the wall commemorates an airman killed in 1918 and has Christ, the King of Peace at its centre.

The beautiful Anniversary Window in the south aisle was given to the church by the people of Chesterfield in 1984, to mark the 750th anniversary of the church. It traces the history of the town from the C11th.

The south transept contains the pre-Norman font which was discovered in the Vicarage gardens in 1898. It stands on a pedestal of Frosterley marble and the carving around the bowl is now very eroded.

The carved screen, with its fan vaulting, between the south transept and the chancel chapels, dates from around 1500. Standing in front of it is the parish chest, dating from about 1600, which was used to store parish records, vestments and church silver. On top of it is a whale bone which has been in the church since 1837 although no-one knows how or why it arrived here.

The high altar has a beautiful gilded reredos designed by Temple Moore in 1898. In the centre is the Virgin Mary holding the Christ Child. On the left is the Annunciation. On the right, the Baby Jesus is being presented at the temple. The east window above dates from 1947 and depicts the Apostles’ Creed.

To the right is the Lady Chapel with the splendid C16th Foljambe tombs on the walls. Beyond is the tiny Lesser Lady Chapel with its wood Elizabethan altar and a copy of Bellini’s Madonna and child above it.

To the right of the high altar is St Katherine’s Chapel, which is reached through the original rood screen dating from the early C15th. It has a simple altar with red front and curtains behind.

Next to it is the Holy Cross Chapel, which is one of the highlights of the church. This was the guild chapel of the Guild of the Blessed Lady and the Holy Cross which was founded in 1218 and was one of the most important in Chesterfield. It houses the Blessed Sacrament and is used for private prayer. The wonderful gilded reredos dates from 1934 and the central panel showing the Crucifixion was carved at Oberammergau.

On the wall is the Hunloke Cross which was gifted to the church. It is thought to be late C15th or early C16th. It depicts Christ on the cross with St John and the Virgin Mary.

There is more information and lots more pictures “here.”:


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