Darley Abbey - Heritage Walk No. 4 - The Church
w/e 16 February 2014
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

This fourth Heritage Walk at Darley Abbey is double the length of the third walk but still measures only about half a mile in total. It begins once again at the information board B near the gates to Darley Park.

Abbey Lane

With our backs to the board we turned left into Mile Ash Lane for the third walk and the fifth walk will commence by turning right into New Road but this walk is straight ahead to Abbey Lane.
Shop Row

Abbey Lane was also known locally as Shop Row and the village shop on the right hand side has been, to quote from the leaflet describing all the walks, "part of the scene since the development of the mill village."
Stone Buildings

Next to the shop are buildings that are believed to contain stone from the walls of the former Abbey that gave its name to the village.

On the opposite side of Abbey Lane are cottages pre-dating the workers' cottages that we have seen previously in our walks around Darley Abbey as they were part of the village before the Evans family started their building programme to house the people who worked at their mills.
Church Lane

Abbey Lane continues across Old Lane and becomes Church Lane as it ascends the hill passing Darley Fields Drive on the left on its way up towards St Matthew's Church. Apart from the church the buildings here are of much more recent construction than those seen in Abbey Lane.
St Matthew's Church

We continued up the hill and climbed the steps into the churchyard. It was back in the 1780s that Thomas Evans built his first mill in the village and his son Walter, built St Matthew's Church for the mill workers between 1817 and 1819, the church being consecrated on his 55th birthday on June 24th.

The church was closed when we were there but inside are several reminders of the Evans family not least being the east window, a memorial to the second wife of Walter Evans II and their son Arthur. The crypt of the church contains the remains of nine members of the family and more are buried in the churchyard. Although I had a brief scout round for the headstones I didn't find any but if I had researched more thoroughly before going there it would have been easier to spot them as, unlike the others that lie in an east-west alignment, the Evans family graves line up to face the mill. This is so that on the day of resurrection they will be overlooking the mill that Thomas founded.
Fellowship Room

The Fellowship Room at the church is used for both church and community activities and there are a number of engraved slate tablets in the paving outside.
Engraved Tablets

The tablets, which were paid for jointly by the worker's family and the Evans, identify the graves of mill workers and their families. It was quite a sobering experience reading some of the inscriptions. For example the one in the bottom right hand corner of this image shows that Mary-Ann Mosedale died on May 19th 1866 aged only 10 months and nearby another showed that George Thornhill who died July 6th 1826 was only two weeks old when he died. Many of the adults too didn't live to ripe old ages.
War Memorial

We returned to the start of this walk along Church Lane and Abbey Lane walking down the hill from the church passing the War Memorial in the process. The memorial contains the names of villagers who lost their lives in the two World Wars plus a more recent addition of a sailor who died during the Falklands conflict in 1982.
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