St George and St Mary's Parish Church, Church Street, Church Gresley, Swadlincote, 1789
About this image
The church of St George and St Mary was built on the site of a 12th century Austin Canons Priory, and incorporated the tower of the conventual church. The remainder of the church, however, was rebuild in c 1820 after this engraving was done and does not look like this today. (See DCHQ000402 for a picture of the church after restoration). At the top of the engraving are the words 'Engraved for the topographer for October 1789'. Also note the different spelling of the church's location, which here is spelt Greseley.
Text from Kelly's Directory, 1891:
"The church of SS. George and Mary, appropriated at an early date to the priory, formed part of the monastic buildings, the nave being used by the parishioners and the chancel by the Austin canons as the priory chapel: shortly after 1816 the church was repaired, the ruins of the priory to the east being swept away, the outer walls of the church almost entirely rebuilt and windows and a door of a debased character inserted: the building is of stone, and now consists of chancel, nave, north aisle and an embattled western tower of the 15th century containing 3 bells, dated 1639: the chancel had been destroyed soon after the Dissolution, and in 1839 its site purchased as an addition to the churchyard, but on the restoration of the church in 1872, a new chancel was built on the original site ; of the priory church only the tower and the two Decorated arches of the arcade, supported by an octagonal pier, now remain: the oldest monument now extant is in the north aisle, and is that of Sir Thomas Gresley (1699), with his kneeling effigy, beneath an arch, round which are the impaled arms of every marriage of his ancestors: there are other monuments of later date to the same name and one to John Alleyne (1712) : the church plate dates from 1726 : there are 300 sittings, all free. In 1861 land was purchased as an addition to the churchyard, south of the church; and on this site and on that of the chancel many traces of the priory buildings were uncovered and numerous fragments of Norman, Early English and Decorated work found."
This image is one of a collection by the famous local antiquarian, Thomas Bateman, of Middleton by Youlgreave. (1821-1861). Bateman organized his collection by inserting them into a 4 volume copy of Lysons Magna Britannia, Derbyshire, creating a fascinating and unique illustrated record of the county. The purchase of the collection for Derbyshire Libraries was made possible by the generous bequest of Miss Frances Webb of Whaley Bridge, well known local historian, who died in December 2006.