The Church was founded as a Benedictine Priory by Henry de Ferrers, and completed in 1089. It was in memory of King William the Conqueror and his wife Queen Matilda of Flanders - in memory also of his own parents, and in thanksgiving for his own family: 'in honour of holy Mary, the Mother of God ... and for the soul of King William and Queen Mathilda, and for the health of my father and mother, and my wife Berta, and my sons, Engenulph, William and Robert, and my daughters and all my ancestors and friends."
William, Earl of Derby, had the body of his great-grandfather, the founder of Tutbury, translated and buried on the south side of the high altar of the priory church.
At the Reformation the prior became vicar of Tutbury, and the western part of the priory church was retained as the parish church, St Mary's Church, Tutbury. The church has a splendid, much admired Norman doorway. Outside there is a very interesting sundial, but the stocks are a reproduction. The graveyard around the church provides reminders of the massive underground explosion at nearby Fauld in 1944, when 68 people died, including Italian prisoners of war.
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