(This site is still being revised and updated. Most recently some illustrations have been added to brighten the information about the church, Oker village, Snitterton and Darley Bridge)


 When Irene Wright decided to write "a little bit of information" on South Darley, she thought it would be a quick and easy task; However, this was not so; so many people volunteered information and South Darley featured in far more records than she had imagined. The most difficult part was wondering which pieces to leave out.


To begin:- SOUTH DARLEY was originally part of Darley Dale parish, and we achieved parish status with the building of our Church at Cross Green in 1840. The church of St. Mary was established in the centre of the parish along with the school and village hall to serve the villages or hamlets of Wensley, Cross Green, Darley Bridge, Oker and Snitterton.


THE CHURCH began with a bequest of 1,000 by the Rev. Benjamin Lawrence, Rector of Darley Dale, on condition that the building was started within two years of his death. He died on February 18th 1838 and the foundation stone was laid on 17th February 1840. It was built in the Norman style and was consecrated on 19th June 1845. The architect was Joseph Mitchell of Sheffield.

In 1863 a meeting of ratepayers and parishioners approved the removal of the gallery - the doorway of which can still be seen in the church tower. In January 1885 the East wall was taken down and the Chancel built, this added "40 sittings plus comfort and convenience". The original accommodation provided for 226 people seated. (The parish population in 1881 was 675). The architect for the chancel was Mitchell-Withers, son of Joseph Mitchell. Apparently a wealthy woman by the name of Mrs Withers left him money provided he add her name to his own!


By the 1880's 80% of pews in Derbyshire churches were privately rented as this was the normal method of maintaining the church fabric; our church is unusual in that it was built without rented pews.


Perhaps the most significant feature of our church is the Burn-Jones window (above the altar) which was installed in 1891 in memory of Joseph and Sarah Taylor, local brewer and benefactor. (See the illustration below for a view of this window)






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This file was created by D.Willmott Sept 2000,

revised Dec 2003 and Sept 09

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