which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell.

Plaques and Memorials inside St. Mary's Church

Plaque 9

Revd Thomas Cornthwaite

Wooden plaque inside the bell tower.

memorial plaque 9

Revd Thomas Cornthwaite was vicar of Crich between 1801 and 1838.

The Revd Thomas Cornthwaite had quite a reputation for eccentricity during his ministry. In spite of his eccentricity he seemed to realise that his ministry had not been a great success. A.B. Done’s book of 1912 wrote of the vicar –

... he took a pair of shoes to be soled, and on going to fetch them, which he did himself, some few doors from his own residence, asked how much the charge was. He then sat and mused for some time, turned the shoes over, and sadly exclaimed – “Well, Piggin, thou art cleverer than I; thou hast made two new soles for one and tenpence, and I have been Vicar of this parish over forty years, and have neither made or mended a soul yet.”

His last service was on the 27th August 1837 to a very full church and the sermon was sufficiently unusual to have been recorded for posterity.

To-morrow, my friends, this living will be vacant, and if any of you is desirous of becoming my successor, he has now an opportunity. Let him use his influence, and who can tell but he may be honoured with the title of Vicar of Crich. As this is my last address, I shall only say, had I been a blacksmith, or a son of Vulcan, the following lines might not have been inappropriate –

My sledge and hammer lie reclines,
My bellows, too,have lost their wind;
My fire;’s extinct, my forge decay’d,
And in the dust my vice is laid.
My coal is spent, my iron’s gone,
My nails are drove, my work is done;
My fire-fried corpse lies here at rest,
And, smoke-like, soars up to be bless’d.

If you expect anything more, you are deceived; for I shall only say – Friends, farewell, farewell!

This must have been one of the shortest sermons ever given in Crich Church! It was also recorded that the congregation “gazed upon each other in silent astonishment; for others it was too powerful for their risible nerves to resist, and they burst out into loud fits of laughter.”


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