Ilkeston St Mary’s Parish Church
The parish church of St Mary the Virgin has stood on its present site since the mid 12th century and until 1848 served the whole town of Ilkeston. Since 1848 three new parishes were formed to serve the spiritual needs of the rapidly expanding town. The building contains many features of interest and architectural importance. Of the original 12th century building, only the three Norman pillars and arches still remain. These form part of the south nave arcade.
In or around the year 1200, a tower was erected at the west end and approximately fifty years later a north aisle was added to the nave. A few years after, an entirely new and enlarged chancel was founded by the then Lord of the Manor, Nicholas de Cantelupe, whose tomb can still be seen today beneath the east window of the church.
In 1386 a chantry chapel dedicated to St Peter was erected on the north side of the chancel by Joan, the wife of a later Nicholas de Cantelupe. This chapel collapsed during the leaving the east end of St Mary’s open to the elements. The former site of the chapel was eventually used as an extension to the burial ground until its restoration in 1855.
Other features of architectural and historical importance include the stone screen which, though much restored, does include some of its original stonework. The parish chest which dates from the 16th century, once stored the parish registers which themselves date from 1588. The Sedilia, which features the heads of King Henry the Third and his Queen, Eleanor of Provence, along with the Piscina, featuring the carved heads of a priest and a monk, are dated to the late 13th century. The organ was purchased from St John’s church in Paddington, London in 1866 and is believed to have been used by Mendelssohn. The organ has occupied its present position since 1990.
The tower once featured a spire and, although no precise date can be found regarding its erection, was certainly in existence by the late 16th century, being featured on the earliest known map of the town dated 1598. The spire collapsed one stormy night in 1714 and was never replaced. A new tower was erected in 1731 but just ten years later a new disaster struck when the roof of the chancel fell in. This exposed the insides of the church to yet more damage and by the early 19th century, St Mary’s was in a state of near complete collapse.
In 1855, Reverend George Searle Ebsworth (Vicar of Ilkeston 1842-1863) undertook a campaign to raise the necessary funds to have St Mary’s restored to some resemblance of its former glory. This restoration, though rescuing the church from inevitable destruction, necessitated the destruction of some of the oldest parts of the church. Parts of the east window had already fallen in while fragments of the ancient chapel of St Peter’s lay scattered around the church yard. The tomb of William de Cantelupe (died (c) 1308) was dismantled and removed from the church while the tomb of his father Nicholas, was moved from the centre of the chancel aisle to its present position beneath the east window. Though lost for over 150 years, fragments of William’s tomb were found during excavations in the grounds of the former vicarage of St Mary’s (see Ilkeston’s Archaeology).
In 1910, the tower and the west end of the church was dismantled and an extension consisting of a further three bays was added to the church, thus almost doubling its capacity. This work was undertaken during the incumbency of Reverend Mollan Williams (Vicar of Ilkeston 1907-1915).
Further restoration work took place in the 1960s during which much work was carried out on the exterior of the church. The replacement of stonework, pointing and the cleaning of the windows was later followed by a complete redecoration of the interior.
Rectors of St Mary’s
1220 William de Muskham
1290 William de Ilkeston
1322 William de Loscoe
1334 John de Kendale
1341 Thomas de Saxeby
1349 William de Broydeston
1351 William de Lenton
1375 Stephen de Gundale
1377 Richard de Braundeston
Vicars of St Mary’s
1401 Hugh de Thurgaton
1402 John de Ilkeston
1418 Richard de Ilkeston
1446 Robert Edmund
Richard de Nottingham
1497 Robert Brownlow
1510 Robert Aston
1536 William Carter
1568 John Wyttor
1573 Richard Durdan
1588 Thomas Lowe
1592 George Mellor
1629 Thomas Lowe
1633 William Fox
1680 John Wilson
1695 Henry Courtman
1710 Humphrey Courtman
1736 Matthew Birch
1748 George Allen
1802 Jervase Brown
1842 George Searle Ebsworth
1863 James Horseburgh
1873 James Francis Nash Eyre
1887 Edward Muirhead Evans
1907 Charles Mollan Williams
1915 Archibald William Bell
1932 Linsan Alfred William Graves
1948 Reginald Foskett
1957 James George Brooks Ashworth
1962 Arthur Charles Robertson
1985 John Michael Roff
1991 John Richard Henson
2000 Allan James Brown
2010 Michael D Ptitt
Church Wardens of St Mary’s
Though incomplete, this list contains the names of those known to have served as church wardens during the years shown.
1553 John Day and John Batchelor
1599 William Walker and Edward Smalley
1600 John Flamstead (Snr) and Robert Gregory
1601 Robert Gregory and John Carrington
1602 William Harvie and Francis Fullwood
1603 Percival Norwell and Robert Parr
1604 ... Rossell and William Brentnall
1605 John England and John Flamstead
1606 Richard Trueman and William Gregory
1607 William Parr and John Gregory
1608 John Fullwood and Thomas Cooke
1609 Joseph Handford and William Loccall
1610 Richard Savage and Humphrey Willimote
1611 William Parr and ...
1612 John Walkden and Humphrey Hutchinson
1613 John Walkden and William Straw
1614 Thomas Taylor and Edward Tarrett
1615 Robert Cowpe and George Flamstead
1616 Robert Cowpe and George Flamstead
1617 Robert Hardie and Michael Holt
1618 John Hardware and Thomas Hunt
1619 Robert Cowpe and Robert Day
1620 Robert Cowpe and Robert Day
1621 Thomas Flamstead, Richard Webster,
John Boote and William Gregory
1622 Robert Day and Anthony Fullwood
1623 Bartholomew Boote and Thomas Cooke
1624 Francis Beardsley and John Dawson
1625 Francis Beardsley and John Dawson
1626 Nicholas Skevington, John Dawson,
Anthony Flamstead and William Straw
1627 Robert Allestry and William Harrison
1628 Lawrence Bruxby and Robert Corden
1629 Lawrence Bruxby and Robert Corden
1630 ... ... ... ... ...
1631 Richard Day and Edward Bannister
1632 ... ... ... ... ...
1633 John Dawson and ... ...
1634 John Dawson and ... ...
1635 William Flamstead and Richard Wood
1636 Robert Day and Anchor Taylor
1637 Francis Cooke and William Dennis
1638 Francis Cooke and William Dennis
1639 Robert Cowpe, Ralph Chapman
William Redgate and John Saxton
1640 John Hellott and William Straw
1641 John Hellott and William Straw
1642 Robert Allestry and Richard Day
1643 Richard Peacocke and William Hayes