All Saints Church from St. Mary's Gate, Derby, c 1900s
About this image
A Church existed here in Saxon times. Thought to be founded by King Edmund in 943 as a royal collegiate church, no visible trace remains of the Saxon Church. At some time during the fourteenth century, a new church was built, thought whether this replaced the original or a later one is not certain. Not much is known in detail about the medieval building. Drawings show it to have been of about the same size as the present church (without the Retrochoir) with a nave and chancel, a shorter north aisle and a longer south aisle, which included St Katharine's Quire and incorporated a south porch. There was a pinnacled rectangular tower at the West End. This may have been structurally unstable, for it was pulled down and a new tower, in the contemporary Perpendicular style, as seen here, was built between 1510 and 1530. The tower is said to be the second highest in England (212 feet) and has the oldest ring of 10 bells in the world. From the middle of the seventeenth century, the fabric of the church appears to have deteriorated steadily and in 1723, the Vicar, Dr Michael Hutchinson began its demolition. He appointed architect James Gibbs and builder Francis Smith. Gibbs' church, a simple rectangular building in the classical style and married to the retained sixteenth century tower and porch, extended as far as the present position of the high altar, with a large three-light Venetian east window. He included a wrought-iron screen extending across the whole width of the church. A local ironsmith and gate maker, Robert Bakewell, was commissioned to make the screen, which was finished some five years after the first sermon was preached in the new church on 25th November 1925. A small musicians gallery was provided by Gibbs in1933 and the side galleries at the West End were added in 1841. Over the next hundred years, some of Bakewell's ironwork was removed, Gibbs' box pews were replaced by the bench type still in use today and the clear windows were filled with patterned coloured glass. In 1894 the choir was moved from the organ gallery to the Chancel and new carved oak choir stalls designed by Temple Moore were installed. In 1884, a new diocese of Southwell was created and the majority of the County of Derbyshire was transferred from the See of Lichfield to the new see. In 1889, the first assistant bishop to the diocesan Bishop of Southwell was appointed with the title Bishop of Derby. He and his successor worked with the first Bishops of Southwell for the creation of a new diocese of Derby, and this was bought to fruition with the hallowing of All Saints as its Cathedral Church on 28th October 1927. St Katherine's Chapel was dismantled and in 1978, the outer part of the Cavendish burial vault was converted into a small Crypt Chapel retaining the old dedication to St Katharine. The cathedral houses many monuments, including that of Bess of Hardwick. The gates of the Baptist Church are visible on the left.