From The Neolithic To The Sea: A Journey From The Past To The Present

St. Helen's, Churchtown

53° 9′ 46.51″ N, 1° 36′ 9.75″ W
12th Century

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St. Helen's, Churchtown, is a Grade II listed parish church, located is Darley Dale, Derbyshire.

The church was built in the 12th century on the site of an Anglo-Saxon church. Grave covers and remains of an Anglo-Saxon cross were retrieved when the church was restored and enlarged in 1854 and 1855 by Henry Isaac Stevens, it was reopened on 24 April 1855. The church was restored again in 1908 by the architect Percy Heylyn Currey.

The church is a mix of architecture dating from the Norman period, which include a blocked up doorway, to the Perpendicular Gothic style. An early English lancet window, sometimes known as a lepers window is located on the west side. Lepers windows were left open during services so that infected people could hear without endangering the congregation.

The yew tree in the churchyard is thought to be 2,000 years old. The tree’s width measured in early 19th century, the circumference was 34 feet 8 inches but recently the yew measures about 32 ft.

Sir Joseph Whitworth and his second wife, Lady Louisa Whitworth, are buried in the churchyard. Sir Joseph is best known for the development of the Whitworth Screw and the Whitworth Rifle. He lived the last 13 years of his life at Stancliffe Hall, Darley Dale. The Whitworth Institute on the main A6 road was gifted to the people of Darley Dale and was intended to be a place where people could meet for leisure, recreational and educational purposes.

The church contains a pipe organ by Brindley and Foster.