St Giles Church Great Longstone

Great Longstone is a very old settlement. It is recorded in the Domesday Book (1086), and is mentioned several times in 12th century documents. It was originally in the Parish of Bakewell, and was one of the Chapelries of the Collegiate Church of Bakewell.

We do not know when the first church was built, but the lower parts of some of the external walls of this building are at least as old as the 13th century. However, we do know that in 1262 Griffin, son of Wenuwyn, a Welsh Prince, founded a Chantry in Longstone. A Chantry is an endowment for the singing of Masses, but the word also means its chapel or priests.

Perhaps that chapel was the earliest building on this site, and was probably not very different in size from the present building.

We do not know much about what happened to the church between the 16th and 19th centuries. Photographs taken before the restoration of 1872 show the usual muddle of box pews and a high pulpit. Contemporary accounts suggest that the building was getting into a bad state.

The London architect, Richard Norman Shaw, restored the church in 1872, securing the fabric and particularly the wonderful medieval roofs, and provided new pews and choir stalls in oak, and a new pulpit. Much of the stained glass was added during the next 25 years under Shaw's supervision.

Tarn, JN (1997) St Giles, Great Longstone

Look for these examples of different building periods (see church plan).

Early English: 13th century:
  • the main church doorway inside the porch
  • the lancet, or pointed windows in the tower and north aisle
  • the buttress on the left hand of the Porch
  • Decorated: 14th century:
  • the rows of arches and pillars (the arcades) in the nave
  • the south porch
  • the priest's door in the chancel
  • Perpendicular: 15th century:
  • the timber roofs
  • the upper part of the tower
  • the side windows in the chancel
  • the windows above the arcade - called clerestory - may be of this period or even a little later
  • Special things to note
  • The decorated bosses on the nave roof.
  • The copper engraving memorial to Rowland Eyre and his wife Gertrude in the Lady Chapel, and dating from 1624.
  • The 17th century timber screens around the Lady Chapel.
  • The hatchments, which are part of the funereal decorations, hanging at the east and west ends of the nave. They are painted on canvas and commemorate members of the Wright and Eyre families in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
  • The screen in the belfry arch, installed in 1925, made from the old oak beams of the bell chamber.
  • The font (recarved in 1901) and its wooden cover.