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Dinah Morris' Pulpit, Methodist Chapel, Wirksworth, c 1920s
c 1920s - 1930s
St. John's Street ?
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The pulpit from which Elizabeth Evans (portrayed as Dinah Morris) preached from which inspired George Elliot to write 'Adam Bede'.
At the southern end of Wirksworth on the Derby Road stands Adam Bede Cottage opposite to Haarlam Mill. This is where Samuel EVANS and his wife Elizabeth came to live in about 1814 and were portrayed as Adam and Dinah Morris in George Eliot's famous novel Adam BedeBede. George Eliot, whose real name was Mary Ann EVANS, was the niece of Samuel and Elizabeth EVANS and came to stay with her aunt and uncle in 1826.The visit made such an impression on her that in the novel she wrote about Wirksworth calling it Snowfield, which placed the town on the literary map. The origin of the novel was a story told to George Eliot by her aunt, who had visited a young girl in Nottingham Prison. This girl, Hetty SORREL, who had been condemned to death for the murder of her child. Elizabeth EVANS stayed with her the night before the execution and they said prayers together and on the way to the execution she comforted Hetty. Elizabeth EVANS was a dedicated Methodist preacher who spoke with great passion and forthrightness. She was well liked and respected in Wirksworth, although somewhat of a thorn in the flesh of the established church because of her unconventional style. Her husband Samuel was also a notable local preacher. When Elizabeth died in 1849, she was buried at her request in an unmarked grave in the Parish churchyard, over which a copper beech tree was planted and still stands to this day. The memorial to Samuel and Elizabeth EVANS can be seen in the Heritage Centre, together with other memorabilia relating to this fascinating story. An explanatory leaflet which provides a much more detailed account of the Adam Bede story is also available. (Taken from http://www.wirksworth.org.uk/A06W-TOD.htm)
Taken in the Bede Memorial Chapel (St. John's Methodist Church?); the building was refurbished and re-opened in 1970. The pulpit was removed in 2002, to be displayed in the Englesea Brook Museum of Primitive Methodist Crew.