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All Saints, Youlgreave, Derbyshire

(53°10′34″N, 1°41′3″W)
SK 212 644
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Derbyshire
now Derbyshire
medieval Lichfield
now Derby
  • Celia Holden
  • Colin Morse
  • Jennifer Alexander
  • Louisa Catt
  • Olivia Threlkeld
06 August 2002; 01 September 2014

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Youlgreave is a village about 12 miles from Buxton on the River Bradford. The church lies to the of the village and consists of an ashlar gritstone structure with coursed squared gritstone, limestone and gritstone rubble, gritstone dressings and quoins. The church features a chancel, a clerestoried three-bay nave with N and S aisles, a S porch and a W tower. The aisled nave with the arcades date to the late 12thc: the round-headed arches to the S aisle are late Romanesque in style and those of the N aisle feature Transitional arches. The piers of the N and S aisles do not align from N to S. The church was extensively restored in 1869-71 by Richard Norman Shaw. Romanesque sculpture consists of the blocked N doorway, the N and S arcades, the font located in the nave, two slabs, one of which depicting a pilgrim, and a head supporting a stoup.


The Domesday Survey records that in 1066 'Giolgrave' was held by Cola of Winster and Ketil of Edensor; in 1086 its lordship passed to Henry of Ferrers. It valued £0.8. During the reign of King Henry II, Robert, the grandson of Colle, granted Youlgreave to Leicester Abbey. In 1224 Bishop Alexander Stanenbury appropriated to the Leicester abbey the church of Youlgreave.


Exterior Features


Interior Features



Interior Decoration





An interesting comparison exists within the church between the shafts and capitals on the N aisle which contrast with those in the S aisle, the latter being earlier and being more robust in proportion with multi-scalloped capitals and round headed arches between, dating from the second half of the 12thc.

The shafts and capitals to the N aisles are lighter in proportion with Transitional pointed arches between them, suggesting a date at the end of the 12thc.The carved heads in the spandrels and the carving on the capitals are fine and the two pieces of sculpture in the niche and below the stoup/piscine are clearly of the same date and by the same hand.

George Zenecki draws attention to the carved figure in the niche as being almost identical to a figure on a capital at Conisborough (West Yorkshire) and similar to one of four figures in the tympanum at Bishopsteignton (Devonshire). This representation depicts the Three Kings in profile paying homage to the Virgin, and it is this figure which is very similar to the Youlgreave one.

John Charles Cox (1877), II, 323-4, suggests a different interpretation of the figure carved on the slab with the pilgrim. He says that it could depict a pilgrim, 'but we think it more likely to be intended for some ancient saints, and has probably at one time occupied a position over a former porch or in some other part of the older building, as it seems to us to be of greater antiquity than that part of the masonry where it is now built in, which is only of the 15thc'.


J. and M Bartlett, Youlgreave Parish Church. A guide, n. p. 1987.

J. C. Cox, Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, vol. 2, Chesterfield and London 1877, 315-343.

N. Pevsners, Buildings of England: Derbyshire, London 1978, 362.