SK1746 : Church of St Oswald, Ashbourne

taken 5 years ago, near to Ashbourne, Derbyshire, Great Britain

Church of St Oswald, Ashbourne
Church of St Oswald, Ashbourne
The chancel, early 13th century Early English lancets and doorway. Later Decorated window to the left, and battlements by George Gilbert Scott, 1879.
Church of St Oswald, Ashbourne

A suitably imposing church for what was a prosperous local market town in the medieval period. It is cruciform in plan with a central tower and spire. The nave has a single aisle on the south side, and the transepts are unusual in having an 'aisle' to the east which appears always to have been of equal height to the 'main' transept, essentially created it would appear a separate chapels. The chancel is significantly longer than the nave.

Although based on an earlier structure, the current building was commenced in the early part of the 13th century, in Early English style, the chancel and transepts being from this period. There is a very rare brass consecration plaque, dated 1241, in the south transept. The south door is a fine example of Early English work.

The nave was constructed probably around 1280, in Decorated style, and the south aisle was added towards the end of the same century. The 4-bay arcade has good carved capitals of the period. The tower was built at the same time, with the spire being added early in the 14th century. Rising to 212 feet high, the spire has 5 tiers of lucarnes on alternating faces.

The roofs of nave and transepts were raised in the Perpendicular period, around the end of the 14th century, with clerestory windows added, and also the fine Perpendicular windows in the east chapels of the transepts, and at the east end of the chancel.

The church was restored under the guidance of Sir George Gilbert Scott in 1876. This included the reconstruction of the roofs, including the battlementing of the chancel, which otherwise retains its largely Early English features.

The interior has a number of notable features. From the earliest period are the tall paired lancets of the chancel, with contemporary piscina and sedilia.

Of the same period is the fine font, in the south aisle, with trefoiled arcading and fleur de lys.

The church is fortunate to retain a modicum of medieval stained glass. Of particular interest are the 5 medallions in a lancet of the north chancel which date from the 13th century, representing biblical scenes. There are fragments of 14th century glass, with some figurative elements including a small crucifixion. More 14th century glass in the form of armorial bearings of local families survives in the east window, incorporated into an important layout of glass by the well known Victorian stained glass artist Kempe. There are several other windows by major Victorian and early 20th century stained glass workshops.

The Boothby Chapel in the north transept contains a very fine collection of monuments from the medieval period to the 18th century. Those of the Cokayne and Boothby families were largely originally in that area, with others being moved there in the 19th century. The medieval ones are largely in local alabaster, but included is a fine table-top brass of the mid 16th century.

The only old wooden furniture includes a pair of small late 15th century seats in the chancel, rescued from a farm, and the Tudor period parclose screen enclosing the Boothby Chapel in the north transept.

The church has a ring of 8 bells, cast as a set in 1815. Due to structural problems with the tower, a new frame was constructed at the level of the old ringing chamber in 1931, and the bells are now rung from ground level in the crossing.

The church is Listed Grade I.

The churchyard gateway from around 1700 including pinnacles supported on skulls and 18th century cast iron gates, is Listed Grade II*; the churchyard walls (undated, but probably partially 18th century) are Listed Grade II.

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Alan Murray-Rust and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
1:50,000 Modern Day Landranger(TM) Map © Crown Copyright
TIP: Click the map for Large scale mapping
Change to interactive Map >
Grid Square
SK1746, 249 images   (more nearby search)
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Monday, 6 March, 2017   (more nearby)
Friday, 10 March, 2017
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Religious sites  City, Town centre 
Period (from Tags)
13th Century 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 1765 4644 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:0.8985N 1:44.3020W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SK 1764 4642
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
Looking for a postcode? Try this pageExternal link
Clickable map

Other Tags
Parish Church  Chancel  Lancet Windows  Early English Style 

Click a tag, to view other nearby images.

Image Type (about): close look 
This page has been viewed about 47 times.
View this location: KML (Google Earth) · Google MapsExternal link · Bing MapsExternal link · Geograph Coverage Map · geotagged! More Links for this image
W Go E
thumbs up icon
You are not logged in login | register