A small Gothic Revival design of the turn of the 20th century, built for Anglican worship and acquired for Roman Catholic use in the 1970s.
Neither the year of foundation nor the dedication date of St Mary’s is known, though architects have identified Saxon stonework at the east end of the church. The earliest reliable dating is of the east and north part of the Chancel, belonging to the early Norman period. Alterations in the 14th and 15th century and repairs down the ages result in a bewildering mixture of different architectural style, but in general St Mary’s must look very much as it did in 1450.
The church contains the unique double decker oak tomb and figures of Sir Roger Rockley who died in 1553. The figures are said to have been covered with fine linen which was made to adhere closely to the wood before being painted. There is also the only remaining box pew of the Elmhurst family, installed in about 1730.
The magnificent south door dates from 1480 and is an extremely fine example of 15th century craftsmanship. Full of detail and carved in Gothic relief lettering is the inscription ‘IHS NICOLAS GENN + THOMAS ALOTT’. They were churchwardens of the time.
The churchyard contains a number of interesting memorials, some dating back to the 17th century. There are also unmarked graves, including one in the lower churchyard in which seventy five miners killed in the Darley Main Pit disaster of 1849 are buried. In the church there is a copy of a picture from the Illustrated London News of the funeral scene.
The church is full of interest, and we are always glad to welcome visitors and hope you will enjoy your visit.