Repton is a village and civil parish in the South Derbyshire district of Derbyshire, England, located on the edge of the River Trent floodplain, about 4.5 miles (7 km) north of Swadlincote. The population taken at the 2001 Census was 2,707, increasing to 2,867 at the 2011 Census. Repton is close to the county boundary with neighbouring Staffordshire and about 4.5 miles (7 km) northeast of Burton upon Trent.
In 669 the Bishop of Mercia translated his see from Repton to Lichfield. Offa, King of Mercia, seemed to resent his own bishops paying allegiance to the Archbishop of Canterbury in Kent who, while under Offa's control, was not of his own kingdom of Mercia. Offa therefore created his own Archdiocese of Lichfield, which presided over all the bishops from the Humber to the Thames. Repton was thus the forebear of the archdiocese of Lichfield, a third archdiocese of the English church: Lichfield, the other two being Canterbury and York. This lasted for only 16 years, however, before Mercia returned to being under the Archbishopric of Canterbury.
In 873–74 the Danish Great Heathen Army overwintered at Repton, one of only a few places in England where a Viking winter camp has been located. (There is a good deal of controversy, however, as to whether or not the camp was confined to the immediate area of the village, or whether it extended further downstream.) Excavations from 1974 to 1988 found a D-shaped earthwork on a bluff, overlooking an arm of the River Trent, and opened a mound containing a mass grave. The mass grave contained the remains of at least 264 individuals. The bones were disarticulated and mostly jumbled together. Forensic study revealed that the individuals ranged in age from their late teens to about forty, four men to every woman. Five associated pennies fit well with the overwintering date of 873–74. The absence of injury marks suggest that the party had perhaps died from some kind of contagious disease.
An early 18th century account describes how, in the last quarter of the 17th century, Thomas Walker, a workman looking for stone, opened the mound and found the skeleton of a "nine foot tall" man in a stone coffin in the remains of a building. According to the account, human bones had been neatly stacked around the coffin. It seems likely that Walker just threw most of the bones back once he had removed the stone he was seeking, but he was recorded as having kept the skull of the principal burial.
The church is notable for its Anglo-Saxon crypt, which was built in the 8th century AD as a mausoleum for the Mercian royal family. Wystan, or Wigstan, was a prince of Mercia who was murdered by his guardian in 849, in the reign of Wiglaf. His remains were buried in the crypt at Repton and miracles were ascribed to them. Repton proceeded to become a place of pilgrimage; Wigstan was later canonised and became the patron saint of the church. At the north edge of the village is St Wystan's Church, an Anglo-Saxon church dedicated to the Anglo-Saxon Saint Wystan (or Wigstan) and designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building. The 8th-century crypt beneath the church was the original burial place of Saint Wigstan, as well as his grandfather, King Wiglaf of Mercia. Also buried there is King Æthelbald of Mercia, under whose reign the building was first constructed, and for whom it was first converted to a mausoleum. Upon the burial of St Wigstan, the crypt became a shrine and place of pilgrimage.
The cruciform Anglo-Saxon church itself has had several additions and restorations throughout its history. These include Medieval Gothic north and south aisles in the nave that were rebuilt in the 13th century and widened early in the 14th century, and the addition in 1340 of the west tower and recessed spire. The church was also restored between 1885 and 1886 by Arthur Blomfield.
- King Æthelbald of Mercia was buried here in 757 AD.
- Beornred of Mercia was buried here
- Saint Guthlac of Croyland was a monk here in about AD 697.
- Russell Osman, Ipswich Town & international footballer, was born here in 1959.
- King Wiglaf of Mercia was buried here
- Basil Rathbone lived in his childhood here
- Saint Wigstan of Mercia was buried here, although his remains were later removed to Evesham Abbey
- Walter Somers, engineer and industrialist, was born in Repton in 1839.
- Elsie Steele (1899–2010), the oldest documented person in Britain at the time of her death, lived at the Dales Residential Home iduring the final few years of her life.
- Roald Dahl, Jeremy Clarkson, and others studied at Repton School in their younger years
- "Area selected: South Derbyshire (Non-Metropolitan District)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
- "Civil parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- Pevsner & Williamson, 1978, page 303
- Hall, Richard (2010). Viking Age Archaeology. Shire archaeology. Princes Risborough: Shire Publications. pp. 14ff. ISBN 0-7478-0063-4.
- Biddle, M. and Kjølbye-Biddle, B., 1992, 'Repton and the Vikings.', Antiquity, 66, (1992), 36–51.
- Pevsner & Williamson, 1978, pages 304–305
- Historic England. "Church of St Wystan, Repton (1334560)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- "The Crypt". St Wystan's Church, Repton. Archived from the original on 26 January 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Pevsner & Williamson, 1978, page 305
- Derby Mercury – Wednesday 28 July 1886
- Kirby, D.P. (1992). The Earliest English Kings. Routledge. p. 134. ISBN 0-415-09086-5.
- Swanton, 1996, pages 755, 757
- "Russell Osman". EnglandStats.com. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- Swanton, 1996, pages 48–49
- Smyth, Rob (10 September 2010). "Girl who delivered Mail is now UK's oldest person". Burton Mail.
- Page, W.H., ed. (1907). "Houses of Austin canons: The priory of Repton, with the cell of Calke". A History of the County of Derby, Volume 2. Victoria County History. pp. 58–63.
- Pevsner, Nikolaus; Williamson, Elizabeth (1978) . Derbyshire. The Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. pp. 303–308. ISBN 0-14-071008-6.
- Swanton, Michael (1996). The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92129-5.
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