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Chancel, Tideswell Church, 'The Cathedral of the peak', Tideswell, Buxton, 1969
D D Brumhead
Brumhead, D D
6 June 1969
About this image
St John The Baptist's Church (The Cathedral of the Peak) was a chapel of Saxon origin and previously existed on the site of today's church. This ancient chapel was linked to Hope church, and it was the income from this ancient chapel that King John gave to the Canons of Lichfield in 1192 to purchase their bread and beer. It was not until the episcopate of Roger-de-Wiseman (1244-1256) that Tideswell was constituted as a separate ecclesiastical Parish with an independent source of income for its Vicar. The Vicar was provided with a Vicarage house and had to Officiate in person in the Church, while from his own funds he had to pay a priest and sub-deacon to assist him. It was part of his duty to keep a light burning in the church. The existing building was commenced in the year 1300, and the nave and chancel were completed between 1330 and 1350, some delay being caused by an outbreak of the Black Death in 1348. The church is so large in comparison to its Parish because, at the time there were many civic and religious authorities competing with each other to build great monuments, which would give lasting fame to their respective towns or cities, and architecture was a way of disposing of surplus wealth accumulated by the tithes, fines, legacies and benefactors. The Foljambe family were mainly instrumental in the building of the Church and they continued to have interests in the Parish until late in the 18th Century. On the north side of the tower there is a stone figure of a cat. It can be seen on the wall above the door. Legend says that during the construction of the new tower a cat climbed up onto the scaffold, thus inspiring the builders to add it into the building for evermore. There is also a figure of a monkey on the interior wall over the north Door, sadly there is no record of its significance.