Derby Cathedral

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Derby Cathedral
Cathedral Church of All Saints
East view of the cathedral
Derby Cathedral is located in Derby Central
Derby Cathedral
Derby Cathedral
Location in Derby
52°55′29″N 1°28′39″W / 52.924817°N 1.477375°W / 52.924817; -1.477375Coordinates: 52°55′29″N 1°28′39″W / 52.924817°N 1.477375°W / 52.924817; -1.477375
Location Derby, Derbyshire
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Style Gothic, Neoclassical
Years built c.1350–1725
Number of towers 1
Tower height 212 feet (65 m)
Diocese Derby (since 1927)
Province Canterbury
Dean John Davies
Precentor Chris Moorsom, Canon Precentor
Canon(s) Simon Taylor, Canon Chancellor
Elizabeth Thomson, Canon Missioner
The cathedral from Irongate

The Cathedral of All Saints (known as Derby Cathedral), is a cathedral church in the city of Derby, Derbyshire, England. It is the seat of the Bishop of Derby.


The original church was founded by King Edmund I in about 943 as a royal collegiate church; however, no traces of its structure survive. According to the Domesday assessors, it belonged to the King, and was served by a college of seven priests.[1] The current cathedral dates from the 14th century, although it appears to be based on an earlier medieval building, which drawings show was about the same size as the present church. It may be that it became structurally unstable and was pulled down. The 212-foot (65 m)[1][2] tower dates from 1510 to 1530 and was built in the popular Perpendicular Gothic style of the time.

Under the Protestant persecutions of Queen Mary, Joan Waste was tried for heresy at the cathedral in 1556. The execution took place on the Burton Road in Derby.[3]

Apart from the tower, the building was rebuilt in a classical style to the designs of James Gibbs of 1725, and it was further enlarged in 1972. At the same time, the ciborium was added over the altar.[1]

The building, previously known as All Saints' Church, became a cathedral by Order in Council on 1 July 1927.[4][5]

The Cathedral's treasures include an 18th-century nave with a wrought iron rood screen by Robert Bakewell, for which he charged the church £157.10.0d;[6] the memorial to Bess of Hardwick; and the Cavendish brasses, including those of Henry Cavendish and Georgiana Spencer, the wife of one of the Dukes of Devonshire. The entrance gates are also by Robert Bakewell, but these were only moved to the cathedral from St Mary's Gate in 1957.[1] Notable 20th-century additions are the stained-glass windows designed by Ceri Richards, and the bronze crucifix by Ronald Pope.[1] The entrance gates were refurbished in 2012 and renamed the Queen Elizabeth II Gates to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.[7]

In late 2005 it was discovered that a pair of Peregrine Falcons had taken up residence on the cathedral tower. In 2006 a nesting platform was installed, and they nested here in April. The same pair have successfully reared chicks every year since then, up to and including 2014. Webcams were installed in 2007, 2008 and 2013 to enable the birds to be seen at close range without being disturbed by human contact.

In 2009, more than 150 members of the Derby Mountain Rescue Team abseiled down the tower for charity.[8] Further sponsored abseils have taken place every year since, and in 2012 this included the Dean of Derby Cathedral, Dr John Davies. [9] [10]

Cathedral Centre[edit]

The Derby Cathedral Centre is opposite the west doors on Irongate. It was opened by Queen Elizabeth II. It includes a cafe, a bookshop and an exhibition space, featuring work by local artists.[11] The Cathedral Centre also houses the cathedral offices and meeting rooms.[12]


Cathedral clergy[edit]


  • Dean – The Very Revd Dr John Davies (since 9 October 2010 installation)[13]
  • Canon Missioner- The Rev'd Canon Dr Elizabeth Thomson (since 2 March 2014 installation)
  • Canon Precentor – The Revd Christopher Moorsom (Since 2 March 2014) installation)
  • Canon Chancellor – The Revd Canon Dr Simon Taylor (since 1 April 2012 installation)[14]

Other clergy[edit]

  • Cathedral Chaplain – The Revd Adam Dickens (since 3 March 2014; Chaplain to the University of Derby)
  • Assistant Curate – The Revd Andrew Trenier (since 1 July 2012; Minor Canon)


Organs and organists[edit]


The organ

In 1939, an organ was installed by John Compton of London, which was used until being overhauled in 1992.[15] In 1973, an additional instrument was installed in the new retro-choir (east end) by Cousans of Lincoln.[16]



The bells of Derby Cathedral are the oldest ring of ten bells in the world. Most of them have been here since 1678 when the number of bells was increased from 6 to 10. The largest bell weighs 19cwt. (965 kg), its note is D-Flat and it is over 500 years old, older than the tower itself.[1] It is believed that it came from Dale Abbey at the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The youngest bell, No. 3, is dated 1693, so all the bells are over 300 years old. Bell no. 8 was in Ashbourne Parish church until 1815. A carillon in the tower uses the same bells to provide a tune at 9am, 12pm, and 6pm.[17]

The bells used to hang in a wooden frame. When the church became a Cathedral in 1927 the bells were retuned and ruhung at a lower level in a new metal frame.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bowler, Tony (23 June 1994). "A towering presence". Derby Express. 
  2. ^ Pepin, David (2004). Discovering Cathedrals. Shire Discovering Series 112 (7 ed.). Osprey Publishing. p. 60. ISBN 0-7478-0597-0. 
  3. ^ A History of the Life, Trial, & Execution of Joan Wate, who was burnt in Windmill Pit near Derby in the year 1556, Foxes Book of Martyrs, 1563
  4. ^ Order in Council founding The Bishopric of Derby (S.I. 1927/624)
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 33290. p. 4207. 1 July 1927.
  6. ^ Margaret Mallender (c.1979), "Information sheet: the records of the cathedral of All Saints, Derby. Cathedral of All Saints
  7. ^ "Restored Gates will be renamed". Derby Cathedral. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Cathedral Abseil". Derby Mountain Rescue Team. Retrieved 11 February 2010. 
  9. ^ "Daredevil duo's leap of faith as they prepare to abseil cathedral". Derby Telegraph. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Dean and Curate abseil down Derby Cathedral tower". The Church of England Newspaper. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Welcome to our Visitor Centre,, retrieved 11 June 2012 
  12. ^ cathedral centre,, retrieved 11 June 2012 
  13. ^ Derby Cathedral – Dean's Installation
  14. ^ Derby Cathedral weekly notice sheet, 1 April 2012
  15. ^ "Cathedral of All Saints, Irongate (Compton)". National Pipe Organ Register. Retrieved 30 March 2007. 
  16. ^ "Cathedral of All Saints, Irongate (Cousans)". National Pipe Organ Register. Retrieved 20 February 2009. 
  17. ^ "Derby Cathedral". Derby Diocesan Association of Church Bellringers. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 

External links[edit]