Grid Ref: SK 160 551
Dates: 28 June 2018 & 2 Aug 2018

St. Michael's and All Angels
View towards the west from the chancel steps

It was particularly challenging to photograph the nave on a very sunny mid-morning with bright light streaming through the East Window. The picture below left is a composite from two images - one exposed for the window and one for the rest of the chancel.

chancel spacer window spacer Norman doorway
Chancel and altar   Detail of East Window   Norman arch doorway
Pulpit   tiles   Kneeler
The rectangular pulpit   Floor tiles in the chancel   Kneeler at the altar rail

Pevsner informs us that St. Michael's and All Angels has a Norman nave with the south door having an unusual double zigzag round the arch. The base of the chancel arch is also Norman but the tower is imitation Norman built in 1882-3 by the architect, F.J. Robinson.

Opposite the church, behind a high hedge lies Alsop Hall, which dates from the 17th century. The Alsops were lords of the manor for 500 years until 1688 and 200 years later their descendants were again in their old home.

This hamlet has a surprising connection with the English Reformation. Arthur Mee tells us that here came Thomas Becon, chaplain to Cranmer and Protector Somerset, a cleric who preached himself from Canterbury Cathedral into the Tower of London. After his release, he sought obscurity in travel and found shelter for a year with John Alsop. He wrote: "Coming into a little village called Alsop-en-le-Dale I chanced upon a certain gentleman named Alsop, lord of the village, a man not only ancient in years but also ripe in the knowledge of Christ's doctrine. After we had saluted one another, and taken a sufficient repast, he showed me certain books which he called his jewels." From the information given below, this encounter may have been between 1553 and 1556, the year that Cranmer was executed.

According to Wikipedia, Thomas Becon or Beccon was born c.1511 in Norfolk. He entered the University of Cambridge in March 1526-27, studied under Hugh Latimer, and was ordained in 1533. In 1532 he was admitted a member of the community of the College of St. John the Evangelist, Rushworth - now Rushford. He was arrested for Protestant preaching and was forced to recant around 1540. He then began to write under the pen name of Theodore Basille. When Edward VI succeeded his father, Henry VIII, in 1547, Becon was made chaplain to the Lord Protector Somerset. Thomas Cranmer made him one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury, and a chaplain in his own household. He contributed to Cranmer's Book of Homilies. When Mary came to the throne in 1553, as a married priest, Becon was divested of his ecclesiastical positions. In August that year, he was designated a seditious preacher and imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was released in March the following year and fled. He went to Strasbourg and then to Frankfurt, and he taught at Marburg University from around 1556. When Elizabeth I became Queen in 1558, he returned to England and was made a canon of Canterbury Cathedral in 1559. He died in 1567.

  Alsop Hall  
  Alsop Hall, August 2018 (through a gap in the hedge!)  



The Buildings of England, Derbyshire, by Nikolaus Pevsner, revised by Elizabeth Williamson, Yale University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-300-09591-0
The King's England, Derbyshire, by Arthur Mee, first published in 1937, 6th impression 1951

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