Church of St Anne, Beeley Derbyshire – Before the 1066 Norman Conquest there was a small hamlet here with a chapel of rough and cast timber from the neighbouring wood
The present church dates from c 1150 with 14c, 15c additions;
heavily restored / rebuilt in 1882-4
In 1192,Bakewell church, with all its appurtenances and chapels, was given by Earl John to Lichfield cathedral, and this gift included the chapel at Beeley. A priest was appointed with a stipend of 40 marks (£13-6-8), and other provisions for its maintenance. “It consisted of a nave, and a lean-to aisle, divided from the nave by round arches resting on massive round columns of stone with a square base. The nave was low, and roofed with a flat wooden roof. At its east wall was a wall pierced by a low round arch leading into the oblong chancel, against the east wall of which was the altar. The deeply-splayed windows on either side of the nave and the east end of the chancel admitted little light. No benches or carved woodwork ; In winter, terribly cold, in summer, dark"
c1192 the first stage of the tower was built, the masonry as far up as the stringcourse beneath the belfry windows being of the Early English period. there used to be two shallow buttresses on the outside of the west wall, but one was removed at the 1883 restoration when the 2 large buttresses at the angles were added. The walls and doorway of the chancel are said to be of this date.
In 1280 Peckham, Archbishop of Canterbury. made his visitation of the Diocsese of Lichfield and strongly rebuked the Dean and Canons for their gross neglect of the spiritual necessities of Bakewell and its independent chapelries. With regard to Beeley, he ordained that “the chancel should be kept in repair by the inhabitants, who were also to find a chalice and a missal, but that the rest of the fabric, books and ornaments were to be supplied by the Dean & Canons” The parishioners of Chelmorton were also ordered to pay 2.5 marks to the chaplain of Beeley, which, with one mark received from the very small curacy endowment, together with 20s to be raised annually from the inhabitants (amounting in all to 5 marks ie £3-6-8) was the annual stipend of the priest officiating at Beeley, a drop of £10 pa on what it was in 1192.
In 1315, the Dean & Chapter of Lichfield granted 20s to the chapelry of Beeley, to be paid yearly. They further permitted “that certain honest and chief men “ which shall be mete for the bringing of holy water may be named by the parishioners,” Their duty was to take holy water for its use from the church at Bakewell.
Also at this time considerable alterations were again made to the church. The tracery of the east window was inserted as we see it now, and both the narrow window on the north side of the chancel and the upper portion of the tower were added; Also the tower and chancel arches
The nave was rebuilt being finished on July 7, 1375, and consecrated March 10, 1378. The battlements & pinnacles were also placed on the tower top.
In 1819, the nave was again rebuilt, the Norman pillars with Early English arches separating the north aisle from the nave being removed, (Three times begging letters for money were allowed to be read out to every parish in the Country, the results were not satisfactory and by 1826 there still remained the sum of £880 to be paid which the inhabitants of Beeley were unable to raise. Money to pay off the debt appears to have been borrowed from private sources, the final payment of £150 being made in 1837.
In 1817, George Meynell visited and reported that there was stained glass window in the north window showing the crowned figure of St Catherine with a wheel in her hand. Upon a seat-door in the chancel was carved “Godfrey Barker, sete made by A.B. (Adam Barker) 1660”. On a stone in the middle aisle was a Latin cross the full length of the stone and on the wall of the church a hatchment with the arms of the Saviles, – both now missing.
In place of what must have been a picturesque nave with aisle was substituted what the Rev H.C. Sculthorpe describes as an “oblong, barn-like structure with flat whitewashed ceiling and walls. Their chief aim seems to have been to erect a Musicians’ Gallery, as it came to be called, at the west end and the nave was filled with high box pews which later became rickety and worm-eaten. The gallery was approached from outside by a stone staircase. The so-called communion table was a common four-legged deal table, covered with a green baize cloth.” Rev Sculthorpe , appointed in 1864 also said the altar-plate in use was of a debatable metal pewter, or some other alloy.
In 1882-4 the church was restored by H Cockbain, when the porch and nave were rebuilt, and the north aisle added, in the Decorated style to match the east and west arches; the large window on the south side of the chancel was reconstructed and set lower than the original.
A tablet in the vestry is to the memory of George Savile of Beeley, of the ancient family of Savile of Howley, Yorkshire, who died September 16, 1675. Also to the memory of his brother William Savile, who died June 9, 1676. They were both sons of William Savile of Bakewell, whose brass is in Bakewell church. flic.kr/p/dABuXC Another tablet on the south wall of the chancel states that “Near this place lies the body of George Savile of Southouse Grange, Co Derby, and John his brother, sons of William Savile of Hill Top in the said county, and of Dorothy, his wife. John departed this life October 1, 1733, George on May 16, 1734. The Saviles bought Beeley manor in 1689, and occupied the residence formerly called “The Greaves”, but which they renamed “Hill Top”.
There is a gravestone in the Baptistery on which is engraved the Greaves family crest, with the inscription: “This marble stone doth press but not oppress the body of John Greaves son of john Greaves of Greaves, who was always a true son of the Church of England, merciful and charitable to ye poor, patient and courageous in a tedious sickness, and at length being full of faith and hope did exchange this troublesome world for a better, upon ye 13th day of October in ye year of our Lord 1694.” A stone in the north aisle to the memory of his wife “her better part to blissful regions ascended the 25th day of May, Ann Dni 1700”.
John Calver 1710 shown in brass lies in his shroud www.flickr.com/gp/52219527@N00/R2626Q
Being near to the large Cavendish estate there are stained glass windows in memory of the family, including the east window in memory of Lord Edward Cavendish 1891 www.flickr.com/gp/52219527@N00/a27c6a & the south window to William Cavendish , 7th Duke of Devonshire 1891 www.flickr.com/gp/52219527@N00/k4vti3
The tower has 3 bells which appear to have been cast in the reign of Elizabeth I and are inscribed “God save the Church” ; “Ste Georgi O.P.N.” (Sancti Georgi, ora pro nobis) & a maker’s mark of George Heathcote, bell-founder, of Chesterfield, who died in 1558
The font may possibly be pre-Norman, but it was much altered in 1883 that it has entirely lost its original character. Francis Bond speaks of it in his book on ‘Fonts’ as “apparently destroyed”. www.flickr.com/gp/52219527@N00/f1Y6Sr
In the graveyard is a stone in memory of “Mary Woodson, who departed this life January ye 8th, 1785, age 27”. and is said to have died suddenly on her way to church to be married.