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St Oswald's Parish Church, Ashbourne
Peel, J L
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St Oswald was a popular Anglo Saxon saint who became king of Northumbria in 635 and brought St Aiden from Iona to Lindisfarne; their efforts were largely responsible for the conversion of that kingdom and the foundation of the Northumbrian church. The church consists of a nave and south aisle, crossing with crossing tower and spire, transepts with aisles as wide as the transepts and a long chancel. There was certainly a church here in Saxon times and the current church has a Norman crypt, but the present building was constructed in the 13th and early 14th centuries and is the finest local example of the Early English style. The Chancel was complete by 1241 and the Nave and transepts were added in the later part of the century, with the tower added in the early 14th century. Various other small additions were made over the ages and the church was restored by Gilbert Scott in 1837-40. The most noticeable feature is its very tall spire - 212 feet (65 metres) - which dominates the area even though the church lies in the bottom of the valley.