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

A Description of Crich Parish Church

in Derbyshire

A Transcription of the 18th Century Manuscripts

of John Reynolds


Transcribed by Stuart Hill and reproduced with his permission.


A Description of
Crich Parish Church
in Derbyshire A
of the
18th Century Manuscripts
of John Reynolds

These manuscripts, containing descriptions of other churches and places in Derbyshire, are deposited in the British Library

(Page 17).


The Church here is built of stone and the roof thereof covered with Lead, both the Church and Chancel. At the west end is a Tower with an octagonal spire thereupon: in which Tower is a ring of 5 excellent bells.

The living is a Vicarage, but whether in the gift of Sir Wolstan Dixie, of Market Bosworth in the county of Leicester, Baronet, or Sir Edward Wilmot, of Chaddesden in the county of Derby, Baronet; both of which claim the right of presenting to the Vicarage, ‘tis not in my power to determine. (Note: there is a side-column note that says’It is in the gift of the Dixie family. A.W.’)

The present fabrick of the Church seems to me to have been built at three several times, from the different kinds of workmanship of which it consists. The north side appears to be much the oldest, the body of the Church, or Nave, the next, and lastly, the south aile seems to be the newest of all.

In the middle alley of this Church, towards the middle of the same, is a large alabaster pavor, to which is affixed a brass plate, containing the following inscription, in Roman capitals,
John Kirkeland, yeoman
buried here
whose Ancestors and hee
Lived in Wheatcrovt above five hundred years,
Till gentle Death did end their dayes
Yet wee will give our God the praise

Wheatcrovt is for Wheatccroft, a village in Crich parish. In the same middle alley, but somewhat nigher the Chancel, is another Brass plate, upon a common broad stone having this inscription thereon. In antique characters,

(Page 18).

Here under this stone the Bodies do lye
Of Robert Marshall and Margaret his wife
Which in this town lived quietlye
Above fifty years without debate or stryfe.
X Children they hade betwixt theym in their life
iij of theym doghters and sonnes were sevyn
God graunt all theyr soules reste & Joy in Hevyn.

There is also in this middle alley a sword drawn upon one of the pavors, with these letters H.W. and 1657, being for one of the Woodwards of Tansley, who died that year, and had been a soldier in the army.

Just before the reading desk door is an inscription, cut on a stone, for Elizabeth daughter of Richard Taylor of Washington who died in 1688, aged 20 years.

In the N.E. corner of the Church was a Chantry, founded (as I have good reason to believe) in the time of King Edward the third, by Sir William de Wakebrugge, Knight, the vestiges whereof plainly appear to this day. It was separated from the residue of the North aile of the Church at the 2d pillar from the east end thereof so that two of the three windows, looking northwards in the said North aile gave light unto it, as well as that in the east end.

In this Chantry the Pooles or Poles of Wakebridge had their burying place, who are descended from Cecily the sole sister and heir of the before mentioned William de Wakebrugge, wch Cecily was married to John Pole, and from that match several families (if not all) of the Poles or Pooles in Derbyshire are descended.

In an arch on the North wall (of this Church) behind the two windows looking northwards out of this Chantry, lies

(Page 19).

the figure of a Man carved in a very white kind of free stone, habited in a long vestment, down to his ankles, and buttoned very thick wth small buttons, from the neck down to the hips; with a long beard, and long lank hair, his crown unshaven, and hands conjoined with his breast, and elevated, resting his feet against a hound couchant, but both the figures (of the Man & Dog) are much defaced. There is an iron rail palisadoes round it, of rude workmanship wch palisadoes are fastened into the lid, or top, of the tomb (whereon the sd. Figures are carved) with leads and the iron rail, into the wall at both ends in the same manner, all of which seems very ancient but there is neither Arms nor Inscription anywhere upon this tomb, neither have there been neither in my time, nor anybody’s now living, as I can make out.
(Note: there are side-column notes against these paragraphs).

Tradition says this is the Tomb of the before mentioned William de Wakebrugge and most probably it is so, or else of some of his ancestors, but ‘tis not unlikely but it may be his, as he founded the Chantry, in which it is.

Within this Chantry on the left hand as you entered it, by the old passage thereinto, (wch was tho’ a seat, or Pew adjoining the reading desk) but on the right, as you now enter it, stands an alabaster Tomb having the portraits of a man and a woman drawn out upon the top thereof, both in long vestments, ad tales domissa; The man having a staff in his right hand, a pair of gloves in his left, and a hawk at his feet. The woman a pair of gloves in her left hand (& nothing in her right) and a Unicorn laid down at her feet. On the southwest corner (of this Tombstone) by the head of the man, is drawn an Escutcheon of 2 coats quarterly, the 1st and 4th having an annulet (for a difference) on a chevron, between 3 crescents Poole. 2nd and 3rd a fess between 6 lozenges Wakebrugge and on the northeast corner, just by the woman’s head is another Escutcheon oarry Sevieres, but no colours are distinguished on any of them.


(Page 20).

Overcross the bottom or east end of this Tombstone is the following Inscription, in Roman capital letters, all of which are very plain, only the beginning of the lines are wanting, by reason of the southeast corner of the said Tombstone being broke off and lost, the said Inscription having a stop (or point) between every word, follows,

NB. tus at the beginning ought to be tum. Dominus, Domini. sterlis (with the L wrote above) is for Sterilio, likewise the last date 1392 must be for 1592 (the top of the 5 being turn’d the wrong way) for if her first husband Gorman Poole Esquire died in 1588, how could she be married again & living in 1392?

From what is left of this Inscription and the remains of another mutilated one in the Chancel (hereafter taken notice of) one may perceive it was intended to be as follows
Hic situm ost corpus Gormani Poole, domini de Wakebruge in comitatu Derbie, armigou qui ab hoc seculo transmigravit [19] die Aprilis, Anno à virginis partu 1588. Duxitquo uxorem Margaretam filiam Edwardi filii Johannis Ferrers de Tamworth militis Postoa ronupta predicta Margareta fuit Johanni Claye, genorose et utrique sterilis orat 1592.
NB. It appears from the old parish Register that Gorman Poole of Wakebridge was buried the 26th April 1588.

About the middle of this Chantry (being as it now is, in the alley going down the north aile) is a small grey marble stone whereupon is fixed 2 brass plates one of which has the portrait of a man in a long loose Garment drawn upon it (but the

(Page 21).

head is now taken away) and the other has the following inscription, written in antique letters, but without date.

Prosbiter hic clauses Wadrof requieuco 1Willms
Qui cantario custou 2 vocor istius ante
Ecce 3 qd escaparor pro 4omibus 5atqz cadauer
Ut sum 6 quisquis out nil manot omne perit
Corpus mane mourn lied hic sub carne putroscat
Attamon ore deum spiritus loca alma capescat
Au deu inbroitum dues ad tua regna panalum
Credo me 7 rodomi de terries aiedo 8 rofundi
Vivivium salutorem michi spea orit ista

Note. 1. Willms is for Willielmus – 2. vocor is the present instead of the past tense – 3. qd, an abbreviation for quid but should be feminine, i.e. que – 4. omibus, a usual contraction for vermibus – 5. atqz, the same for atquo – 6. quisquis, sh’d be quisque – 7. & 8. are both in the present, and should be in the future tense.

There are several Alabaster pavors in the floor of this Chantry which appear to have had inscriptions round their edges, but some parts of them are covered by seats or pews and the letters in other places partly worn out by frequently treading upon them so that little can be made therefrom at this time.

Going out of the Church into the Chancel stand 2 alabaster Tombs, one on each hand. That on the right having the figure of a man in armour drawn upon the top, with his hands conjoin’d over his breast and resting his left elbow upon his sword hilt (which sword is drawn (by him) with the point downwards). At the N.W. corner is an Escutcheon seemingly quartered, but no charge now visible thereupon. Round the edge of this tomb is written in antique characters beginning at the S.W. corner,
Hic jacot Godfridus Beresford genos dudu familiaris


(Page 22).

Guiou Georgii honorandissimi Comitis salop ac filie y heres appanos Adini Beresford de Fenny Bentley. Qui obiit vicesimanono die mensis Novebri Ao Ani Mitto do. xiij.

That Tomb on the left hand is for one Claye of Crich and his family, on the top is drawn the portraits of a man & his wife and 3 Escutcheons. That on the SW corner being Argent, a chevron ingrailed between 3 Trefoils slipt sable. Claye.

That in the middle (between the heads of the 2 portraitures) is Claye impaling 2 coats panti p fess, the first being a saltire ingrailed between 4 cross croslets, [Calton] and the 2nd oarry Ferrers of Tamworth Castle, his second wife being Margaret daughter to Edward Ferrers of Tamworth Esquire, son of Sir John Ferrers of the same place, Knight; and widow of Gorman Poole of Wakebridge Esquire. That coat on the N.W. corner as his first wife’s, alone in a Lozengeshield being a saltire ingrailed between 4 cross crosslets [Calton].

The colours in the arms upon this Tomb are not distinguished. This Tomb is so much worn with Boys clambering upon it, whilst the Churchwardens suffered one Joseph Mather, a lame ignorant person, to teach school in the Chancel (which infamous practice was continued till about the year 1732) that most of the writing is obliterated. What I have been able to make out is as follows.

Down the south side of the top of the Tomb near the edge and on the east end is written,
Viva tibi moriorque [tibi christo resurgan] Christo pro hondo tu am justitiam que fide. Hinc a beat mortis terror, tibi pie Christo salus. Saus Deo.

Overcross the middle of the Tomb is drawn, as it were, a Tablet covering the middle of both the portraitures


(Page 23).

having formerly had a long inscription thereon, but now greatly obliterated; and some part quite worn out. What I was able to make out (on the day of ) now follows.
Heere lieth [John Clay gentleman and Mary whom he first] did wive
With her [he lived near eight years space in which god gave them] children five:
Daughter to William [Calton] Esquire who [was unto that Ky]nge of fame
Henrie the eight [chief cockmatcher] and [servt. of his hawkes] by name.
And as shee had a former match Charnell [Swarston in] Lestershire
So shee deceast, this Clay did take the widow of Gorman Poole, Esquire
Daughter of Edward who was son to Sir John Ferrers of Tamworth, Knight
Shee lyes entombed in this church with him to whom she first was plight
And nowe this Claye is closed ……in clay, the fairest flesh doth fade like grass
He had an sister who unto Stuffyn ….. of Shirbrook married was.
For Deathe gyve an end to all and now this Clay shall reste herein
All claye to claye shall com at last by Death the due reward of synne.
Thou Deathe, his Deathe, thy Deathe is he whose soule doth live with Christ for aye
The stinge of death can no one fle, then greatest monarchs are but Claye.
(Note: by the side of the above there is a column-note which implies that the church notes MSS were used to fill in the gaps).

From the westernmost edge of this Tablet to the S.E. corner of the Tomb and over the east end, is written
Iste Johannes obiit mortem mensis [Maii] Anno [1632] Et ista Maria obiit mortem [31] mensis [Augusti anno] ………1583.

Between the legs of the portrait of the man, from the edge of the before mentioned Tablet, down towards the east end of the Tomb is written
Hoc lutum Deo figulo Rom. IX
And, nearer the east and being as it were, between his foot, is written
orat hec

(Page 24).

There are three pannels on the south side the Tomb, upon which are drawn the portraits of Mr. Claye’s 3 Daughters (with their names added) Susanna, Mary, and Penelope, kneeling upon cushions with their faces towards the east. Behind each of the 2 westernmost (Susanna & Mary) are drawn escutcheons pti p pale, the dexter, or Barons half being left uncharged (signifying they were unmarried at the erection of this tomb) and each of the sinister halfs bearing their own Arms; But behind that portrait which is the most easterly (being Penelope’s) is a shield, parti per pale, baron & femme, the 1st on a bond, 3 cinquefoils pierced, Brailsford, 2nd a chevron ingrailed, between 3 trefoils slipt, Claye and under this Escutcheon is written Nupta erat and underneath the cushion she kneels on Thome Brelsford de Senor, gnso, (for generoso).

Upon the 4 partitions between the pannels (being what they are set into) are these characters denoting the year 1603 in which the Tomb was erected.

On the east end are drawn the portraits of Mr. Claye’s 2 sons, William and Theophilus, kneeling also upon cushions and looking towards the north; by each of them is written Mortius est and under the cushions they kneel on,

Istu filii obiebant in juventute suâ.

N.B. All the Inscriptions upon this Tomb are Roman capital letters.

In the old parish Register, I find that Theophilus Claye was buried the 2nd of March 1590. And Thomas Brelsford and Penelope Claye were married the 6th of August 1601 [Bassanovay(?) she was buried at Crich in the tomb of her father the day of ]. The Registers being imperfect, I find no others, save the above, in it.


(Page 25).

Upon the partition betwixt the Church & Chancel, on that side next the Chancel, is written the following inscription (over this last mentd. Tomb) in antique letters

Soules they are made of Heavenly spirit:
From whence they come ye heavene inherite
But know that bodyes made of Claye:
Death will devoure by night or daye
Yett is hee as hee was I saye:
He livinge and dead remayneth Claye:
His verye name that nature gave:
Is nowe as shal be in his grave
Tymes doth teache, experience tryes:
That claye to duste the winde up dryes
Then this awonder consept we must:
That want of winde should make Claye dust.

Upon a small brass plate, affixed to the north wall of the Chancel (on the inside) nearer the Communion rails than the vestry door, is the following inscription in Roman capital letters (having an asterisk between each word).
Hee sooner bloom’d but blasted:
yet to revive with thine
at the refreshing. Ephraim Skelmerdine
March 1st 1637.

On the dexter base of the plate is a mount with Roses growing upon it, and on the sinister an Infant, wrapped in swaddling cloaths.

Upon the same wall, but nearer the northeast corner, is another brass plate with an Escutcheon containing 2 coats impaled vizt. 1st Argent, a chevron lozenge between 3 cross croslets fitchée Reynolds 2nd Argent, a chevron between 3 Rooks, sable, beak’d & legg’d, azure. Rookeby.

(Page 26).

And underneath, the following Inscription.

Here lies Mary, the wife of George Reynolds of Plaistow Gent. who died in child-bed the 7th day of October, Anno Dom. 1674, aged 33 years.


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