Old Duffield Village, Church, and Castle,
With some Personal Reminiscences.

A Lecture given before the Duffield Branch of the Church of England Men's Society, Dec., 8th., 1921,


We have not many monuments of interest in Duffield church, but there are a few worthy of notice. In the north wall of the chancel is a recess covered by an arch, underneath which was found a stone coffin. A new lid was supplied, carved with a cross, a replica of the original, which had been broken. This may have been the burial place of the founder of the Norman church.

A very interesting monument is the one in the north chapel, of which an illustration is given - the monument, with recumbent effigies, of Sir Roger Mynors and his lady, once of Windley Hill, who were buried in 1536. The monument is valuable because of its very accurate and beautifully-carved representation of the armour, dress, and ornaments worn at that period, and there are many illustrations taken from this tomb in standard works on monumental architecture.

Tomb of Sir Roger Mynors

Above this monument, in the north wall of the chancel, is a large hagioscope, or "squint," which was constructed to give the worshippers in the chapel a view of the high altar. It is divided, which is very unusual, into three openings.

In the north transept is a quaint and interesting monument erected to Anthony Bradshaw in 1600. He was grand-father to the famous President Bradshaw, who condemned Charles I to death.

The curious point about this monument is that Anthony Bradshaw erected it himself in 1600 to the memory of himself, his two wives, and his twenty children. Perhaps he concluded that he was unlikely to add to his stock of olive-branches; but he lived fourteen years longer, and meantime had three more children! The date of his death (1614) he, of course, left blank, and it still remains blank. Across the centre of the monument are carved effigies of himself, his wives, and his children (excepting the three which came later), with their respective initials. It is said that the portraits of the godfathers. and godmothers of these children were formerly painted round the walls of this part of the church.

Anthony Bradshaw owned a good deal of land in Duffield and Holbrook, and lived in a house called Farley's Hall - the name is still attached to the site which is in the fields near Outwoods. He did much to sustain the privileges of the tenants of Duffield Frith, about which he wrote a remarkable "poem" (mostly doggerel), giving an interesting account of its laws and customs, and praising the views and "sweet ayre on topp of Chevin Hill." He built almshouses for four poor widows, the occupants of which were directed, in his will, to attend church regularly, and to sit "att the backe of my pewe," which pew, as well as his monument, they were to dust and keep clean. Bradshaw's almshouses fell into disrepair owing to insufficient endowment, and were sold and pulled down in 1804. The proceeds were invested, and the dividends are distributed half-yearly among four poor persons.

In the boundary wall in front of the Hall there still exists a stone, formerly placed in front of Bradshaw's Almshouses, hearing an inscription making an acrostic on the name BRADSHAWGH.

First published 1922, Derby, Harpur and Son. Website copyright 2001 Jed Bland. 16.04.01