Dancing round the maypole in front of the church - Mike Cummis 2009
St John the Baptist church in Tideswell - Mike Cummins 2009

St John the Baptist Church in Tideswell

...a Grade I listed building

Tideswell’s parish church is known as 'the Cathedral of the Peak' and was described by no less an authority than Sir John Betjeman as 'a grand and inspiring church of the 14th century.'

Arguably the Peak's most perfect church, St John's - a Grade I listed building - was erected on the site of an 11th century chapelry which served the surrounding Royal Forest of the Peak.


This elegant building, with its wonderfully light and airy traceried chancel, is a rarity among parish churches in that it was almost entirely built in the Decorated style within about 70 years from 1300. This gives the stately cruciform church a wonderful uniformity of appearance, which is missing from so many other churches. Only the pinnacled west tower was added later in the newly-fashionable Perpendicular style.


St John’s contains a wealth of interesting memorials, including some of the finest brasses in the Peak. Chief among these is the one to Bishop Robert Pursglove, who died in 1579, a great benefactor of the village of his birth and the founder of Tideswell’s Royal Grammar School (which closed in 1927) in 1560. Earlier fine brasses commemorate Sir John Foljambe (1383) and Sir Robert Lytton, of nearby Litton, who died a hundred years later.

Many of the wooden funishings in the church were carved by the local Hunstone family, wood carvers in the village for three generations.


Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015