Derby Cathedral

The Cathedral of all Saints, known as Derby Cathedral, is a church in the city of Derby and the seat of the Bishop of Derby. It dates back a very long way, with the original church founded by King Edmund the first in about 943. According to the Domesday book, it belonged to the king and was served by a college of seven priests but the original structure didn’t survive with no traces found.

The current cathedral dates back to the 14th century. It appears it was based on a mediaeval building which drawings show was about the same size as the present church and it wasn’t known why it was pulled down, possibly because it became structurally unstable. The 212 feet tower dates back from 1510 and saw an execution take place on the Burton Road in Derby under the Protestant persecutions of Queen Mary.

The Cathedral, which was previously known as All Sts Church, became a Cathedral on 1 July 1927 and contains the oldest ring of 10 bells in the United Kingdom. Other treasures to be found inside include an 18th century nave with a wrought iron rood screen by Robert Bakewell. The entrance gates are also by him but these were only relocated to the Cathedral from St Mary’s gate in 1957. The Memorial to Bess of Hardwick and the Cavendish brasses, including those of Henry Cavendish and Georgiana Spencer, the wife of one of the Dukes of Devonshire, who lived at Chatsworth, can also be found at Derby Cathedral.

In late 2005, a pair of peregrine falcons had taken up residence on the cathedral tower, and in the last few years they have gathered quite a following. Originally nesting on a small wooden ledge installed on the tower, three chicks were raised which fledged and left the city that summer, but two more were raised in 2007. It was then that to web cams were installed which broadcast the progress of the peregrines through the night and day to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. It’s now possible to follow the peregrines progress through the nesting and breeding seasons as well is via an official blog, diary and latest news section to be found on Derby Cathedral’s website.

Derby Cathedral is much more than a beautiful building and the Bishop gathers the clergy and people of the dioceses of Derby, for the ordinations of new priests and deacons. It is governed by the Dean and chapter, foUr priests known as canons, and four lay people. The Dean and Canons have a responsibility for maintaining the daily worship of the Cathedral, as well as managing its life and ministry assisted by the many volunteers.

Its mission involves adult education and schools work but also welcomes visitors, pilgrims and is there for people in distress sharing the Christian faith and engaging in dialogue with those of other faiths, working in close cooperation with the city, the University and other institutions. The Cathedral warmly welcomes visiting choirs to sing evensong on Saturdays throughout the year or to sing Sunday services during school holiday periods.

In 2009 more than 150 members of the Derby Mountain rescue team abseiled down the tower, the charity and further abseiled have taken place in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, the entrance gates were refurbished and renamed the Queen Elizabeth the 2nd Gates to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.