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

Vicars of St Mary's Church

Derbyshire Courier 7 January 1922
An oak tablet, which bears the names of the vicars of the Parish from the 12th century to the present day, was unveiled at Crich Parish Church on Sunday morning. Heading the list, which contains 40 names, is the Rev BRICIUS (no date) followed by the Rev W. De DRAYCOTE, with the date 1278. Other names on the roll are: De WAKEBRIDGE (1348), W. WESTON (1356) (who apparently was vicar for 37 years), T. SHILMERDINE, T. CORNTHWAITE (1801), being followed by T. CARSON, in 1838, and the greatly revered W. CHAWNER, to whose memory a stained glass window was placed in the church.
At the unveiling, which was performed by Dr H.J. RANKIN, touching reference was made to the last named but one on the list – this, of the late Rev William BUNTING. This reference was made by the Rev James WILLIAMS, curate, who held the curacy under the late Mr BUNTING. It was thought the initiative of the Rev W. BUNTING , while the vicar of Crich, that the placing of the list of names in the Parish Church has come to fruition but the originator of the proposal did not live to see his desire effected, passing away with dramatic sadness on Armistice Day.
The tablet is erected in the west wall, underneath the window dedicated to the memory of the late Mrs JACKSON, and immediately behind the font.

The plaque has subsequently been moved to the south wall of the church




R. Banyks*


W. De Draycote


E. Woolley*


J. De Whalleye


T. Shelmardine


W. De Baliden


J. Topham


R. De Radecliffe


T. England


R. De Wakebridge


J. Walker


W. De Baliden


J. Mason


R. De Findern


S. Davenport


R. De Walton


T. Cornthwaite


W. De Weston


T. Carson


J. Whitlessey


G.W. Lewis


J. Bagworth


W. Chawner


W. Bacon


W. Acraman


T. Hoppeley


H.W.C. Geldart


J. Osmond


J.M. Simmons


W. Garton


W. Bunting


P. Trusbut


R.O. Wilson


H Penyale


H.E. Jones


J. Hyton


J.W.E. Brown


J. Fesand


G.K. Bathie


J. Romsore


J.M.C. Colbourn


R. Repyngdon


P.D. Brooks


W. Richardson



Plaque of Crich vicars
Photo courtesy Stan Smith

* There are documents with Richards Bankes name on that span the period from 1554 to 1575 and a will with Edward Wooley's name on dated 1620.

* In the Bailiff's Account of 1443-1444 the vicar is stated as being Hugh Penyale and James Hoyton as the chaplain. Both names also appear in the 1446-47 accounts although Hoyton is now spelt Horton. From information in the Cartulary of the Wakebridge Chantries at Crich it indicates that Hugh Penyale was the Vicar of St Mary's Church Crich and James Hoyton was the Chaplin of the 1st Wakebridge chantry of Saints Nicholas and Catherine – which was located inside the church of St Mary's. Thus Hugh Penyale is the most senior of the clerics and would be assisted by James Hoyton at busy times. However James Hoyton's main function would be to carryout the daily chantries for the souls of the dead as specified by William Wakefield who set up the Chantry.

(Ref: Dr Alan Wilcockson)

Vicars of Crich as recorded in Cox's Derbyshire Churches: Crich

. Bricius.
1278. William de Draycote.
1298. John de Whalleye.
1313. William de Baliden. On the resignation of J. de W,
1340. Richard de Radecliff, rector of Nuthall, exchanged benefices with W. de B.,vicar of Crich.
1348. Robert de Wakebridge, vicar of S. Mary's, Nottingham, exchanged benefices with E. de R., vicar of Crich.
1349. William de Baliden. On the death of R. de W.
. Radus de Findern. On the resignation of W. de B.
1345. Roger de Walton, rector of Whittington, exchanged benefices with R. de F., vicar of Crich.
1356. William de Weston. On the death of R. de W.
1393. John Whitlessey. Collated of the Bishop.
. John Bagworth. On the resignation of J. W.
1397. William Bacon. On the resignation of J. B.
. Thomas Hoppeley.
1402. John Osmond. On the death of T. H.
. William Garton, rector of Bulwell, exchanged benefices with J. O., vicar of Crich.
. Peter Trusbut.
1418. Hugo Penyale. On the resignation of P. T.
1441. James Hyton, late chantry priest. On the resignation of H. P.
1451. John Fesand. On the resignation of J. H.
. James Romsore.
1505. Richard Repyngdon. On the death of J. R.
(1535.) William Richardson. Valor Ecclesiasticus.
1542. Richard Bankys ; patrons, Robert and Thomas Bradshaw, for this turn, by virtue of an agreement with the Abbot of the lately dissolved monastery of Darley. On the death of W. R.
1629. Thomas Shelmardine ; patron, John Eley, gen.
. Joseph Topham. Parish Registers. Probably he followed T. S. on his ejection in 1662.
. Thomas England, died Feb. 7th, 1730.
1731. John Walker; patron, the King, through lapse of time.
1775. John Mason ; patron, the King.
1793. Samuel Davenport ; patron, the King, by reason of lunacy. On the death of J. M.
1801. Thomas Cornthwaite ; patron, the King. On the death of S. D.
1838. Thomas Carson ; patron, Sir W. W. Dixie. On the resignation of T. C.
1849. George William Lewis; patron, Sir W. W. Dixie. On the resignation of T. C.
1855. William Chawner ; patrons, Edward Radford, Henry Anne Norman, Rev. M. Holmes, John Garton, and William Wathey. On the resignation of G. W. L.
1875. William Acraman; patrons, Rev. Melville Holmes, clerk, Henry Anne Norman, gentleman, and Thomas Bellamy Dale, manufacturer. On the resignation of W. C.


Thomas Shelmerdine 1629

He was vicar at Crich between 1629 and 1654 when he moved to St Giles Church in Matlock.

'The registers of this church, which commence in 1637, contain the following "Memorandum, that upon the 26th day of January 1654 Mr Thomas SHELMERDINE was chosen Registrar for the Parish of Matlock before me John Spateman one of the Justices of the Peace for the County of Derby.
"(Signed) Jo. SPATEMAN." ' [Cox, Footnote at the bottom of p.526] (St. Giles - Matlock)

He was the Presbyterian Minister who held the living at Matlock 1654-62 in the aftermath of the English Civil War. Educated at Christ College, Cambridge, he had previously been a minister at Crich. In the Parliamentary Commissioners Report of 1650 was 'Mr. Thomas Shelmardine, able and honest'. [see Note 1] 'He was a Man very Cheerful in converse. A kind Husband to an Holy but very Melancholy Wife. ... He remov'd thence [i.e.from Matlock] when he was Silenc'd to a dwelling at Wirksworth, when he did not long survive'.[see Note 2]
Note 1 : Cox, J. Charles (1877) Vol. II. Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire' pub. Chesterfield London and Derby.
Note 2 : Calamy's Ejected Ministers , vol.ii., p.166
(Source: Ann Andrews)

Thomas SHELMERDINE, A.M. was ejected for nonconformity in 1662.

SHELMERDINE, Thomas. Presbyterian Minister of Matlock. Held living at Crich during the Commonwealth but moved to Matlock rectory in 1656. Ejected in 1662. p.61 (Crich Church) and p.62 (Crich Church). Cox J. Charles (1879) 'Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire' Vol. IV pub. Chesterfield London and Derby. (AA)

Ecclesiastical Visitation of 1639

  Thomas Shelmerdine

Vicar ib(ide)m hath not for the mainternance of
himselfe and greate familie above twentie marke
p(er) ann(um) from the sayd Vicaridge.  Whereas the
impropriat & teithes doe extend to towe hundred pounds
& upwards yearly, & are in the possession of the right
honourable the Earle of Pembrooke & Mountgomery, the
Shrewsbury & the Earle of Newcastle, the right W’orll (Worshipful) Timothie Puzey Esqr Thomas Stone gen(tleman) & the inhabitants of Wheatcroft in the sayd parish



Thomas Cornthwaite 1801 – 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.”

William Acraman (1875 – 1900)

sketch of wWilliam AcramanThe most infamous vicar at Crich was the Revd William Acraman. He ended up defrocked and imprisoned in Derby gaol.






H.W.C. Geldart (1900 – 1906)

Crich seems to have had a history of conflict between its vicar and the school master. No sooner had the scandal of Revd Acraman subsided (he was doing two years hard labour in Derby gaol) than his successor Revd Henry Walter Cotell Geldard began a battle with his newly appointed head of the Parochial School. Read more ...

Revd Joseph Martyn Simmons 1906–1917

newspaper clippiung of Revd Simmons

Interesting to read in the Derbyshire Times report of 1906 that the former vicar, Revd Geldart, took a dispondent view of the difficulties of Crich Parish.

William Bunting (1917 – 1918)

photo of Revd BuntingRevd Bunting was a very popular vicar; sadly only in office for about a year, dying of influenza in November 1918.

He was the son of James Edward Bunting and Edith Cholerton. His father was a blacksmith, born in Alderwasley, who moved to live in Derby in about 1890.

Before becoming vicar of Crich he was curate at St. John's in Mansfield.

He has a marble plaque in his memory near to the main altar. View

There was a moving obituary to him in the Derbyshire Times:

A Victim of Influenza and Pneumonia

A deep gloom, mingled with the peace rejoicings, overshadowed Crich on Monday, when the news was circulated that the vicar, the Rev. William Bunting, had passed away early that morning. His death came as a shock to most of the parishioners, as he had conducted the services in church last week. Pneumonia, following influenza, was the cause of death.

During his 21 months as vicar of the church Mr. Bunting had won the affections of a large number of people, and his popularity as an eloquent preacher, together with his enthusiasm in promoting the welfare of young people, was testified by an ever-increasing congregation and in other ways. Mr. Bunting studied for the ministry at the London College of Divinity, St. John's, Highbury, and he was ordained by the Archbishop of York at York Minster in February 1907. He was first licensed to the curacy of St. Stephen's, Sheffield, and at the latter end of 1909 he removed to St. John's, Mansfield. Here he was senior curate to the late Rev. W Lilley, a former vicar of Boulton, Derby, where Mr. Bunting was formerly a choirboy.

Early in 1917 he was offered and accepted, the living of Crich. In 1914 he married Miss D. I. Helonsing, of St. Alban's, Hull. He was 35 years of age.

The funeral took place at Boulton-by-Alvaston Churchyard on Wednesday, when a large congregation assembled, many of whom had known the deceased since boyhood. The family mourners included: Mr J.E. Bunting (father). Norman and Charles (brothers), and Mr Joseph Bunting, Crich Carr (uncle). Amongst those attending from Crich were: Messrs. Maurice Deacon, Chase Cliffe, and F. Snow, Chase Cliffe Farm, Wardens Mrs. Deacon, Dr. Rankin, Messrs L.H. Griffith and A. Mercer, Miss Curtis, Mr. and Mrs. William Piggin.

Amongst the wreaths were those from Chase Cliffe, Dr. Macdonald, Girl's Guild and Scholars of day schools,. Before the procession started from the vicarage the senior scholars of Crich Carr School, under Mr. Griffith, assembled, and sang a verse of "Sun of my Soul," deceased favourite hymn. The vicar of Boulton officiated at the services.

Richard Ord Wilson 1919-1929

He dedicated Tansley War memorial in January 1920


Gordon K. Bathie (1961 – 87)

Revd Gordon Bathie



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