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Here are my photographs of the All Saints Church in Dale Abbey (Derbyshire) The original chapel was built by a hermit who, in response to a vision of the Virgin Mary, left Derby and his work as a baker around 1130, to carve out the cave still clearly visible in Hermit's Wood. The church dates back to about 1150 and parts of the present building are of that date. In about 1197 the church became Praemonstratensian, which was the order of canons who eventually built and ran the near by Abbey. The walls of the church are said to have been covered in paintings by the monks and the exposed painting of the Visitation dates to the early 14th century.

The church has several unique features. It is said to be the only church in England to share its roof with a farmhouse. The Jacobean cupboard, which it uses as a communion table, is in front of the reading desk instead of behind it. In fact the reading pew, clerk's pew and pulpit are all behind the 'communion cupboard' in a Triple Decker arrangement. The font is the ancient font from the Abbey.

In about 1480 the hermitage and chapel became the infirmary and infirmary chapel for the Abbey. The connecting door on the ground floor is still clearly visible and the low balcony enabled the sick to view events from a prone position. Little has changed architecturally since this date and internally virtually nothing has changed since 1634, the date on the pulpit. More recently the house next door was an inn called the Blue Bell. Clergy would robe in the inn and enter the church through the door, the door was said to lead from “Salvation to Damnation”, it was blocked in the 1820s.

The church also boasts a Bishop's throne and lays claim to being Derbyshire's first cathedral. There is a tablet to its Lay Bishop. This led to Dale becoming the Gretna Green of the Midlands, as licences for weddings were issued without banns being read. Tradition has it that Alan a Dale, one of Robin Hoods' merry men, was married in the church

*Most of the above text taken from http://www.openchurchestrust.org.uk

The pictures were taken on the 10th of April 2005

Click on any of the pictures below to see full size pictures

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Pic 10



The Near by Hermits Cave





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