All Saints Church, Findern
Findern shown within Derbyshire
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Findern is a village in the District of South Derbyshire, approximately 5-6 miles south of Derby (Grid reference: SK309307). The village was mentioned in the Domesday Book, when it was held by Burton Abbey as an outlier of Mickleover. A priory once stood near the church, where the monks were supplied with fresh food from the fishponds on Common Piece Lane. After the dissolution of the abbey the Fynderne family, as the principal land-owners, took ownership of the village and the remaining Chapel of Ease. The Fynderne's lived in a fortified manor house on Castle Hill, though none of the house remains.
Sir Geoffrey de Fynderne left the village to join the Crusades, and brought back the Findern Flower, which in the UK only grows in the village, and only in particular areas. The flower has become an emblem of the village and is represented in many guises, including the emblem of Findern Primary School on Heath Lane.
The parish church of All Saints was rebuilt and consecrated in 1863, on the site of a Saxon Chapel of Ease, destroyed by fire. Built of sandstone, it stands adjacent to the village green. The church contains a monument to Isabella de Fynderne dated 1444, and also possesses the oldest parish communion plate in the UK. Findern also has a small Methodist Chapel, built in 1835, close to the site of the old priory. The village previously also had an early 18th century Unitarian Chapel, built just over five miles from Derby. At that time the law decreed that no Dissenting Meeting House should be built less than that distance from the town. It was demolished in 1939.
Prior to the development of transport, the village was self supporting and it was here, in 1740, that Jedediah Strutt came as an apprentice wheelwright. He had an obsessive interest in machinery, but when his uncle died and left him a small holding, he took it over and returned to Findern to marry Elizabeth Woollatt who lived at the Old Hall, where he had previously lodged. Later he went on to set up the mills and their communities at Belper and Milford, which now form an integral part of the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site.
The village historically had a strong weaving industry, with the majority of the cottages around the Green housing the looms. In 1846 there were as many as 22 velvet and silk looms in the village, but weaving had been known to have taken place in Findern as early as the 17th century Ivy Cottage, one of the oldest surviving properties in the village.
In 1694 an early school was started here by Rev. Benjamin Robinson, the local presbyterian minister (for which he was summoned to explain why to the bishop). Modern Secondary education is now provided for many at John Port School in the nearby village of Etwall.
Although all industry has left the village the Green remains the still the centre of the village, with the Post Office, village store and a handful of other services. Before the Parish Council took action in the 1950s to restore it the Green was in poor shape, divided into four small grassed areas, divided by tarmac paths and frequently used by vehicles. There were no records as to owned the land until ownership was traced to the Crown, and the land purchased for £50 by the Parish Council for the village.
Findern previously had two pubs, 'the Wheel Inn' located on Main Street just off Longlands Lane and a second, formerly 'the Greyhound on the bankside of the Trent and Mersey Canal. In addition to this a house located on the far-side of the canal was historically the oldest pub in the village.
The A50 passes through the lower end of Findern and runs parallel to the Canal. The road was laid in 1997 and many villagers were unhappy about the loss of fields and pleasant walks as a result, though since then the Findern Footpath's Group have made huge improvements to existing trails, created new footpaths, and been a key force for recording and preserving the local history of the village surroundings.
Although a railway runs through the village there is no station; the nearest stations are Willington, Pear Tree and Derby. There are two level crossings: one that is to the South East of the village down Commonpiece Lane, which is one of the few remaining push open ones, and an automatic one on the parish border with Willington - there has been at least one fatality there. On the approach to the latter crossing a spur and basin have been created on Trent and Mersey Canal, creating the UK's largest inland marina with berthing for 585 craft. Mercia Marina, with berths for several hundred narrow boats, is expected to have a great impact on the village and nearby Willington.
- Benjamin Robinson in Dictionary of National Biography now in the public domain
- Pevsner, Nikolaus. 1986. The Buildings of England:Derbyshire. pp 215-216. Harmondsworth, Middx. Penguin.
Media related to Findern at Wikimedia Commons