Thursday, June 01, 2017

Chapel of St John the Baptist, Matlock Dale, Derbyshire

Now cared for by the Friends of Friendless Churches this little chapel sits high above the road between Matlock and Matlock Bath in Derbyshire in an area known as the Artists' Corner.

It was the idea of Mrs Louisa Sophia Harris to build the chapel in her own garden as she didn't care for the way services were held by the Rector at St Giles Church down in Matlock.

She commissioned the Arts and Crafts architect Sir Edward Guy Dawber to design the building for her.

It was quite a climb up to the top St John's Road.  Parking isn't allowed anywhere nearby as it is a very narrow lane.  We parked in the Artists' Corner car park by the river and crossed the main road with difficulty as it was very busy.  We have driven along this road more times than I can remember going backwards and forwards to visit relatives in Chesterfield but I'd never stopped along it, in between the two towns,  before.  Normally we would stop for a break in Cromford or Matlock.

The gates on the path to the chapel were designed by Dawber and have been rebuilt quite recently.  Behind them is a wilderness of wild flowers like buttercups, herb robert, red campion and wood avens also nettles and ferns. Further back is a fenced of area with warnings not to go through because of the invasive Japanese knotweed. Someone had made path through the nettles towards the building.

You can see from the plaque that the chapel or church, I've seen both referred to,  was built in 1897 and it is an Arts and Crafts style church.

We could see now who had made a path through the elbow high nettles.  Inside, in the nave, a workman was painting.  The pews were covered with dust sheets and the chancel was hidden behind plastic sheeting.

We were given permission to pop though into the chancel.

The rood screen was also designed by Guy Dawber.

 The stained glass in the window is by Louis Davies and the alter piece was painted by John Cooke



We were able to exit by the side entrance under the canopy.


We made our way around the side of the church to view the window from the outside.

and then returned to the main road via the steps.

We will have to return one day to see the church when it is returned to its full glory.


Here is a link to more about the chapel and photos of the interior.

21 comments:

  1. Lovely photos Rosie and such an interesting post. A very beautiful arts and crafts chapel and hope you get chance to return and see it after restoration. So good to see places like this being repaired and the link to the chapel site was interesting.

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    1. The group only seem to have care of a few churches and none really close to me, I think the one we visited was the nearest. There was one in Wales close to where we recently stayed so we may try to visit that next time we go there:)

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  2. I really like the idea of friendless churches being adopted.

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    1. It is a lovely thought isn't it?:)

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  3. What a beautiful building, it would be a delight to see it again once is has been fully restored. Strangely my sister who is visiting from Cyprus went to Matlock at the weekend.

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    1. Matlock and Matlock Bath are lovely but get so crowded at the weekends in particular. Up near the chapel it was just us and the workman:)

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  4. How wonderful, it's going to look great when they've finished. I love all the wilderness around it. 😊

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    1. Yes, the wilderness was interesting, the edge of it is a drop down to the road below:)

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  5. Lovely photos and a really interesting post too :)

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  6. It's good this chapel has been adopted and is in the process of being restored. You must have been pleased to have had access and you were able to take some photos of the interior. The building looks attractive in that beautiful location and worth the walk up the hill to make a visit.

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    1. When I saw the work tools outside I thought that we would have to leave seeing the inside but we popped our heads through the door and were told we could wander around but to be caf=reful not to trip on the dustsheets:)

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  7. What a lovely peaceful spot. Looks like the chapel will be worth a visit once the restoration is complete. B x

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    1. It was lovely and peaceful just up aboe all the crowds and busy road below:)

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  8. What a lovely place. I really should get up into Derbyshire more often and explore a little.

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    1. There are some fascinating places to see away from the well known places of interest:)

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  9. Such a beautiful magic hideaway place. x

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    1. Thanks, Simone it was lovely and peaceful:)

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  10. This place looks idyllic. You were lucky to get a sneak peek!

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    1. It was such a lovely day and so quiet in contrast to the busy road just below:)

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  11. Recently I downloaded a book about Tiny Churches in the UK. Your church is not so tiny, but interesting and it is heartening to know that its beauty is being maintained!

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