Friday, February 21, 2020

Inside St Mary's, Cromford

In Cromford last summer I found St Mary's church open because Excellent Women were at work inside. So I took some photographs.

The church's Listing on the Historic England site gives its history:
The church was begun in 1792 for Richard Arkwright¿s industrial complex and residence at Cromford, and was prominently sited next to the cotton mill and River Derwent. It was designed by Thomas Gardner (c1737-1804), architect and builder of Uttoxeter, who was also employed on the reconstruction of Arkwright's Willersley Castle. The wide proportions of the nave are characteristic of the period, and Gardner's church probably had a small chancel of the kind that had become deeply unfashionable by the 1850s. 
The church was substantially rebuilt in 1858 by H.I. Stevens (1806-73), architect of Derby who built many churches in the East Midlands. Stevens enlarged the chancel, remodelled windows and added the tower and west narthex. The ambitious scheme of wall paintings and stained glass was undertaken by Alfred Octavius Hemming (d 1907), who had previously worked for Clayton & Bell and had completed a similar extensive mural scheme at Folkestone, Kent. The scheme at Cromford was completed in 1897 on the centenary of the church.
The wall paintings were damaged by water over years and underwent a serious restoration in 2002.

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