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

Quick guide to St Mary's Church, Crich

St Mary's Church is very ancient dating back to 1162.

Historically it has been recorded under three names:
St Mary's
St Michael's
St Michael and All Angel's

If you are planning a visit to find a grave there is, at the back of the church, a reference book listing the marked graves and approximately where to find them. It contains a copy of the burial records on this website. To be sure it would be wise to note the reference before you go in case the book has gone walk-abouts!

If you are visiting and want just a quick guide as to one or two interesting features – from the great many available – then you can download a "Quick Guide" as a pdf file. The contents of the guide are shown below:

Crich Church appears in records as far back as 1162 when the Fitzralph family gave the church to Darley Abbey. It is thought that the font dates to about this period.

St Mary’s was not always called such. For a while it was known as St Michael’s; Crich Cross has an image of St. Michael in its roundel at the top.

Between 1300 and 1400 the church was thoroughly renovated and rebuilt. The north and south arcades are Norman and were built in about 1140. The windows of the south aisle are about 1320; the chancel, tower, spire and north aisle about 1350.

The family of De Wakebridge were closely associated with Crich and with St Mary’s Church in particular. Sir William de Wakebridge, on his heroic return from the opening battles of the Hundred Years War, found the Country devastated by the Black Death. In 1349 he has lost, in a three month period eight close family members, including his father, wife, brothers and sisters. In their memory he founded a chantry dedicated to St Katharine. This is at the east end of the north aisle, and the effigy in the niche of that aisle is of Sir William de Wakebridge. He also dedicated another chantry to St Nicholas,

Crich Church has associations with the Babington family of Dethick who were involved in the plot to remove Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with the imprisoned Mary Queen of Scots (who was held at nearby Wingfield Manor). In 1586, after the plot failed, Anthony Babington was executed of high treason. In order to finance the plot he sold the tithes of Crich and most of his Crich estates to John Clay. After his execution the Crown forfeited two Crich farms owned by Babington and awarded them to Sir Walter Raleigh, who ultimately sold them. Babington memorial stones are in the floor of the north aisle almost unreadable and now covered over.

Crich church bell

We have a very old set of bells. This is the 1616 bell paid for by a church working party. Two bells were added after WW1 making a full peal of eight bells

Tomb of William de Wakebridge

Tomb of William de Wakebridge.
Can you spot the Katharine Wheel?

Stained window in Crich Church

Memorial window to Revd Chawner 1877. Florence Nightingale helped Dr Dunn find a good stained glass manufacturer for its creation.

Memorial to German Wheatcroft

Memorial to German Wheatcroft 1857
There is an interesting story surrounding his death. His ghost visited his widow on the 14th November 1857. When the War Office informed her that her husband had died on the 15th November she knew this to be incorrect. Perseverance on her part resulted in the rare occurrence of an official War Office record being amended.
Full story – Wheatcroft Ghost

Clay Tablet

Clay Tablet 2

A tablet making puns on the name of Clay(e). The Claye family owned most of Crich and Squire Clay lived by the church. His barn – Clay’s Barn adjoins the churchyard. In 1661 this barn was used to house forty-one Quakers on the way from Eyam to Derby Gaol. Full story at Clay's Barn.

Plaque to German Pole

To the left of the altar is a memorial to German Pole dated 1588.
A translation of the Latin inscription reads:
Here lies the body of German Pole, master of Wakebridge in the county of Derby, a squire who departed this life on the 19th day of April in the year 1588 from our Virgin’s birth.
He took to wife Margaret the daughter of Edward son of John Ferrers a soldier from Tamworth.
Afterwards the aforementioned Margaret was married by John Clay ...

End of the Clay Tomb

On the left of the altar is this monument to the memory of John Clay, esq. who died in 1632, and Mary, his first wife, daughter of William Calton, of Calton, esq. Chief Cock Matcher and Servant of the Hawks to Henry VIII. She died in 1583: his second wife was the widow of German Pole (see the wall tablet above). The side and end have five kneeling figures, being children of the above Clay; over each is inscribed their names, Susannah; Mary; Penelope, and on the end William and Theophilus.

Tomb of Adam Berresford

To the right of the altar is a tomb showing a knight in full armour resting his feet on a dog.
It is inscribed to the memory of Godfrey Berresford Esq. son and heir of Adam Berresford of Bentley Esq. and servant to George, Earl of Shrewsbury.


These stone seats, called sedilia, are often found in cathedrals and churches built before the Reformation (which began about 1517). They were used by the priest, deacon and sub-deacon during high mass.

Plaque to De Dunn

In the choir stalls is a memorial plaque to Dr C. B. N. Dunn the highly respected village doctor and District Medical Officer, who was also the personal physician and confidant to Florence Nightingale when she was in residence at Lea Hurst. He was instrumental in the formation of Whatstandwell Reading Rooms and Coffee House; which was supported and financed by Florence Nightingale.

Stained glass window

Memorial window to the Hurt sisters (of Alderwasley Hall and Chase Cliffe) who were great benefactors to Crich residents, the church and schools. The Hurt family were Lords of the Manor and built the first Crich Stand


In 1368 Sir William de Wakebridge founded a second Chantry at the end of the south Aisle where this ancient piscina can be seen. A piscina was a small sink with a channel leading to outside. It was where the priest would pour away the water used for rinsing his hands after the absolutions of the vessels and chalice used in Mass. A similar damaged piscina is below the south window within the Communion rails.

Home| Church Index