26 Apr 2015

Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire: the area around the church



The church of St. Martin is situated in the corner of the village called 'The Nook' which has an open area surrounded by cottages.  The above view of the church was taken from the lane on the north side where the 15th century tower and the 18th century nave can be better seen.
Joan Eyre, heiress of nearby Padley Manor had the stone church built in thanksgiving for the safe return from Agincourt (1415) of her husband, Robert of Highlow Hall.  Local folklore says that they met at 'St. Martin's Well' as the nearby springs of water were called by then. A wooden church was probably already on the site. After a fire destroyed the nave of the 15th century church it was rebuilt by a local stonemason who was also involved in the building of the stables at Chatsworth House. It's unusual because of its octagonal shape which was based on the Palladian 'Rotunda' style of architecture of the period. The vestry and west doorway are 19th century additions.
The box pews in the nave are arranged around the octagonal walls in a semi-circular fashion, which is also unusual. I found the arrangement and the plain, simple interior appealing. This is a place where men and women have worshipped over the centuries and continue to do so and I was very aware of this as I noticed every detail and absorbed the peaceful atmosphere.



















Leaving the churchyard and walking through The Nook and along a lane we come to 'The Roman Baths' and the spring, which is called 'St Martin's Well'.


                                                                 The Spring

                                                            'The Roman Baths'

" Although popularly known as the Roman Baths, there is no evidence that the Romans ever built a bath here. Roman coins have been found locally, so possibly offerings were made at the spring,  In the Middle Ages the water was believed to have curative properties and the nearby church is dedicated to St. Martin, the patron saint of cripples. The spring has a constant temperature of 63 degrees Fahrenheit
In 1734 Dr. Short's Treatise on Mineral Waters claimed that the water could be 'drunk more freely and safely than at Buxton as it is cooler'. "
(Information taken from the above plaque at the site - click on to read more).




21 comments:

  1. A lovely church, it looks quite modern inside, I think it's the light coloured walls which make it look so, quite bright and airy. Beautiful blossom in your last photo, it always looks good against a blue sky.

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    1. I think when the additional entrance porch was built in Victorian times the rest of the interior also had work done. There was more re ordering in the 1950s. The lantern storey in the middle of the nave and the choice of colour for the walls does make it feel light and airy. The east window was given by the village in 1905 and The Holy Family memorial window was gifted in the 1960s.

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  2. I like the square tower in the first photo, a beautiful piece of history. and the sweet butterfly that was inside with all that beauty.

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    1. Actually there were two butterflies and I hope they were able to fly away.

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  3. Your photos are stunning and enjoyed the leisurely tour.

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    1. Thank you for your visit. Glad you enjoyed the walk around.

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  4. It is a beautiful and very interesting church isn't it, your pictures show it off beautifully. I think that the box pews are very unusual too. Lovely to catch up with you. xx

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    1. It's a beautiful church. I like it because it's small and intimate with the box pews arranged around the many-sided nave. You can tell that it's well cared for.

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  5. Oh the church is so beautiful and bright inside! Lots of older churches can be very dark, but this one is delightfully different. x

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    1. I'm so glad I came upon the church when wandering around the village and it was open. (So many churches have to be closed for good reason).

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  6. How interesting... from some angles the church looks quite modern! Jx

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    1. I think because the building has been maintained well, extra parts added and the interior refreshed and re-ordered it looks quite modern.

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  7. What a neat little area, Linda. I love seeing the small villages with a church surrounded by homes. Love St. Martin's Church --and one can tell that it is well-taken-care-off and LOVED...

    The well is interesting and so are the baths.... Thanks so much for sharing this neat picture of "The Nook" and area... Enjoyed reading about it.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. These small villages are all very unspoilt and retain so much history that's particular to the community. I'm very glad that I was able to visit this one and share what I found out about it. The Nook is a particularly pretty and interesting area of the village.

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  8. I so enjoyed taking this walk with you. It's really beautiful. I loved the simplicity of the interior of the church.....and the cushions. I'm guessing that the pews are reserved, so to speak, for the same folks who left their cushions. So pretty too.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the walk. It's a beautiful little church, lovingly cared for and feels very welcoming with an open door. There's a tradition in these rural churches of making embroidered prayer kneelers, often with designs and emblems that reflect the faith and the local community. They're there for all who come and to use if they so wish during services. Some kneelers may be personal to present members of St. Martin's, but the pews wouldn't be reserved in that way.

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  9. What a lovely tour of such an ancient church! My husband's church is the oldest one around here and it was built in the 1870s... It's hard for us to fathom just how old things can be. And those butterfly shots were magical; the juxtaposition of the fleeting and the natural with the ancient and the very much man-made. Thanks so much for showing us this wonderful place! -Beth

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    1. I find that places where folk have gathered over the centuries for a certain reason still retain a special atmosphere. Some places can be tucked away in a quiet spot and get overlooked unless one goes exploring on foot.

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  10. What an interesting church, the octagonal shape is really striking and unusual! It does have a peaceful feeling about it, even the butterfly's agree!
    I do love that old Celtic cross too, what a lovely visit, a fascinating place!xxx

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  11. So amazing, these ANCIENT buildings! Positively amazing. Nothing like that in the US! It's always such a treat to come here, Linda, for the very old eye candy :)

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  12. What a surprise to see all of the light inside of that church. So beautiful!

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