Bakewell - The English Martyrs (Chapel of Ease)

Buxton Road, Bakewell, Derbyshire

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A good example of a relatively intact early  Victorian  Nonconformist church. The building contributes to the character of the area and to the range and diversity of historic buildings in the town.

Bakewell is mentioned in Domesday, and its market charter originated in the 13th century. There is a medieval parish church and the place was an important market town. It later became a minor spa promoted by the Duke of Rutland who partly rebuilt the centre  around  1800.  Not  long  afterwards,  Arkwright  built  a  mill  and attendant workers’ housing sprang up. The character of a stone-built market town has largely been preserved, and the place is a popular tourist destination and the administrative centre of the National Park.

The building now used as the Catholic church was erected as a Congregational chapel in 1849, incorporating a schoolroom in the basement. The architect is unknown, but the style is typical of Nonconformist architecture of the period. The building was bought at auction in 1948 for the Roman Catholic church. Services had previously taken place in an iron church in Granby Road, built in 1890 (Kelly’s Directory, 1922).

The building is of stone. For the outline description, see the list entry below. In general arrangements it is typical of a Nonconformist church of the period, constrained by the narrow plot beside a principal route. It is orientated north/south; this description uses liturgical orientation. The building is set on a high basement formerly used as a school. Entrance is via a porch at the west end, reached by a flight of steps up from street level. The interior retains a west gallery with a simple panelled front supported by cast iron columns. A partition has been inserted beneath the gallery, probably in the late 20th century, to form a narthex. The furnishings appear to be mainly of mid- or late 20th century date and include a Crucifix at the east end and Stations of the Cross on the walls. Benches are of simple design in light wood. The most striking element of the interior is the highly decorative open timber roof.

Diocese: Nottingham

Architect: Not Established

Original Date: 1849

Conservation Area: No

Listed Grade: Grade II