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Churches In Matlock

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Matlock has several churches and each one has its own story to tell its visitors. The Parish Church of All Saints is located on Smedley Street, was built between 1882 in 1884, when Matlock bank was growing rapidly, thanks to the Victorian middle classes who liked to come and pamper themselves with water treatments at the local hydros and spas. The church has always catered for the public visiting the spas, as well as the local residents, and welcomes anyone into the warmth of its interior.

The original plan was that this church was going to be one of the grandest churches in the Derbyshire Dales, but the design was never completed. It now has a large chancel, but quite a short nave and a very high roof. It is actually half its intended length but a great example of late Victorian architecture. Its main feature is the East window which was created in 1904 by William Morris workshops, to a design specified from a Burne-Jones pattern book. The three central lights of the window depicts Christ with the cross as The Tree Of Life, the Virgin Mary, and St John as a priest with a chalice. There is also a very impressive manual organ, which was built by Foster and Andrews of Hull and was installed in the church in 1886. It has recently undergone restoration in 2004.

The church hall next to the East End of the church was opened in 1970 and it forms a base to the many church organisations. The Garden of Remembrance for the burial of ashes, was created in the 1980s and provides a very peaceful place for visitors to contemplate and pray.

St Giles Church is set high on the hill and overlooks the town. It is one of a large number of mediaeval foundations which is dedicated to St Giles, one of the 14 so-called 'auxiliary Saints, who looked after cripples, beggars and blacksmiths. In the middle ages, his cult was popular among the rural poor and there are other churches in mediaeval Derbyshire dedicated to him, like the churches in Hartington and Great Longstone for example.

The church underwent restoration in Victorian times in stages, and over a long period. The former chancel was rebuilt in 1859, and the work was carried out to the designs of GH Stokes, son-in-law to Sir Joseph Paxton. There are some stunning examples of stained glass in all the main windows and under the west window is an altar tomb of Anthony Wolley of Riber who died in 1578 and of his wife. The lower and older part of the churchyard contains many seventeenth and eighteenth century monuments with some moving epitaphs.

There are other smaller churches such as Steep Turnpike Evangelical Church and Matlock Methodist and United Reform Church and Our Lady and St Joseph Catholic Church. Small can also be beautiful and all these churches offer solace and community help for anyone who wants to follow their faith.