St Leonard, Scarcliffe, Derbyshire

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Feature Sets (3)


Within the district of Bolsover, this church is substantially 13thc with later alterations and some 19thc restoration. Romanesque features are the S doorway to the nave and the priest's doorway to the chancel; both have sculpture.  The responds of the chancel arch are Romanesque, with scalloped capitals. The Transitional N arcade has nailhead on the abaci. 


No church is recorded at Scarcliffe in the Domesday Survey. The first known church was built in the time of Hubert Fitzralph, who held the manor of Scarcliffe in the second or third decade of the 12thc. It was among the earliest endowments of Darley Abbey, founded c. 1135; the advowson being the gift of Hubert Fitzralph.  At this time, according to the Darley Abbey cartulary, it was dedicated to St Giles.  It was re-dedicated in the later Middle Ages, perhaps after a remodelling of the fabric.


Exterior Features


Chancel, S doorway

In the S wall of the chancel a priest's door. One order. Chip-carved pyramidal moulding to the chamfer of the arch. Label with nailhead to its chamfer and animal head label stops.

Height 1.75 m
Width 0.74 m

Nave S doorway

Nave S door. Two orders and a label. Square door opening with a lintel.

1st order: plain square jambs supporting a lintel. The square jambs have slightly projecting impost capitals, the inner faces square and divided into four by large saltire crosses, with wheel-like motifs in their angles. The L impost capital is heavily worn, with a nail-head neck. The lintel is chip-carved with saltires, six-pointed stars in circles, rosettes, and circles with vertical dividers. The tympanum is plain and formed by a number of small ashlar blocks.

2nd order: nook-shafts with a thick roll moulding, and a thin roll, in the arch.  The L capital is multi-scalloped with vertical beading; the R capital weathered almost beyond recognition. The L abacus has saltire and wheel motifs, and a short strip of two-directional diagonal linear ornament, the pattern extends to the L; the R abacus has saltires. The label is plain and square, its ends rest on the abaci.

Height of door 2.09 m
Height of lintel 0.38 m
Width of door 1.16 m

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

The arch is pointed and Gothic. The lower parts are Romanesque. Half-column responds with multi-scalloped capitals and roll neckings. N impost with a rinceau or foliate scroll with five-petalled flowers on its S face. 


The S doorway, chancel arch capitals and priest's door all seem to be contemporary work of the first quarter of the 12thc.  Pevsner calls the priest's door "renewed", but Cox was informed that it was "merely freed from plaster and scraped a few years ago" (recorded c. 1875).  The N arcade dates from the end of the 12thc, although with some nailhead and round arches it is too Gothic to include in the Corpus, as is the fine recumbent effigy of Lady Constantia, of the Early English period. 


  • J. C. Cox, The Churches of Derbyshire, I, The Hundred of Scarsdale, London 1875, 321-27.

  • C. Hartwell, N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, The Buildings of England. Derbyshire, New Haven and London, 2016, 581-82.

  • N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, The Buildings of England. Derbyshire, London, 1978, 314-15.

View of church from the SW


Site Location
National Grid Reference
SK 495 687 
now: Derbyshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Derbyshire
now: Derby
medieval: Lichfield
now: St Leonard
medieval: St Giles
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Richard Jewell 
Visit Date
04 Aug 1990