Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire

From Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire, Vol. One by J. Charles Cox, 1875.
Transcribed by Rob Marriott.


WHEN the Domesday Survey of Derbyshire was taken, a church and a priest are mentioned at Ashover. The next notice that we find respecting the church is in the reign of Stephen, when it was given by Robert, Earl Ferrars, to the Abbey of St. Helen's, at Derby. The manor of Ashover was divided into four portions about the close of the thirteenth century, and it would seem that the lord of one of these manors purchased the advowson from the Abbey; for on the feast of St. Hilary, 1802, the Newhall Manor, together with the advowson of the church, was given by Margaret de Reresby, widow, to Adam de Reresby, her youngest son. The family of Reresby came from Lincolnshire, and obtained a footing in Derbyshire by marriage with a co-heiress of Deincourt in the reign of Henry III. They were a family of distinction and on several occasions filled the office of High Sheriff. The advowson of the church, and the Manor of Newhall (afterwards called Eastwood Hall), remained in this family till 1628, when they were sold by Sir Thomas Reresby, in order to provide portions for his daughters, to the then rector of Ashover, the Rev. Immanuel Bourne By inter-marriage with the Bournes the advowson subsequently became vested in the Nodder family.

The Church is dedicated to All Saints. In more than one Directory for the county it is said to be dedicated to St. John— on what authority we know not. The Liber Regis, however, as well as the county histories- of Pilkington, Davis, and Glover, and earlier authorities, are unanimous as to its being under the pro­tection of All Saints.

The church consists of a nave, with two side aisles, a chancel, a south porch, and a tower surmounted by a spire at the west end. Of the church that existed here in the Norman period we can find no trace in the actual structure; the most ancient portion seems to be the doorway inside the porch. This is of the early English period, though late in the style, circa 1270. The jambs of this doorway are cut into several receding mouldings, and have on each side two small shafts. The capitals of these shafts differ in their mouldings, and are but roughly carved. The dripstone round the archway terminates on each side in a small corbel head, whilst a third surmounts the apex of the arch. From the very irregular way in which the courses of the stones that form this doorway now lie, it seems probable that it was taken down and re-set when the south aisle was built. There is nothing else about the church that can clearly be set down to this architectural period.

Nor is there much to be seen of the next style—the Decorated. If, however, we go round the church to the north side aisle, we shall find a good specimen of this period in the small north door­way, now unfortunately blocked up. It has an ogee-shaped arch with pierced projecting tracery, and the dripstone is surmounted by a finial. This aisle has evidently been built during this period, probably about 1350. Its western end distinctly shows the eleva­tion of the former high pitched roof, and, upon going into the interior of the church, thirteen corbel stones, some distance below the present roo£ may be seen above the arches that divide it from the nave. These stones formed the support for one side of the original roof. The five arches, too, which separate it from the nave, supported by octagon pillars, are plain specimens of the Decorated style. It should be noted that the archway nearest the chancel is lower and wider than the others, which seems to Indi­cate that an addition was made to the east end of this aisle during subsequent alterations.

The windows of this aisle are later insertions, and are plain square-headed examples of the Perpendicular period, except a hideous round-headed one, attributable to the churchwarden era. The remainder of the structure is also of the Perpendicular style, though differing somewhat in date. The whole of the south aisle (with the exception of the doorway already noticed), the four arches that separate it from the nave, the clerestory windows of the nave, the chancel with its east and side windows, together with the fiat roofs throughout the church, and the exterior battlements of the nave and chancel, are all of the same period—apparently about the close of the fifteenth century.

Local tradition attributes the building of the tower and spire to the Babingtons, and makes their date coeval with that of the south aisle. On turning to the pages of Glover, the county historian, we find that he quotes from the MS. book of one Leonard Wheatcroft, who was clerk of the parish, poet, tailor, and school­master. Writing in the year 1722, Wheatcroft says that the spire was originally built about the year 1419. Probably he had some good data for arriving at this conclusion, and it is one which we think may be safely accepted. This, too, would be about the date when the Babingtons first became connected with Ashover, and the beautiful windows of the bell-chamber, with their fine tracery, point to an early period of the Perpendicular style, when it had happily not forgotten the lessons taught by the Decorated. Although the south aisle was probably built by the Babingtons, still its windows, as well as most of the other windows of the church, are doubtless considerably later in style than the tower and spire. Subsequent members of this family, or perhaps the Rollestons, may have made these alterations. It is somewhat remarkable about this tower that it has no west window of any dimensions, as though it had not been intended to be opened out into the church; and yet there is no west doorway, whilst the only exterior one, on the south side, is obviously a modern addition. The parapet of the tower is embattled, beneath which project three lengthy gargoyles. The spire is of very elegant design, and is ornamented with eight crocketed windows. Seven yards of this spire were blown down and rebuilt in 1715. On looking up into the interior, the extent of this accident can easily be discerned by the comparative fresh­ness of the newer masonry. A few years ago several feet at the summit had to be again restored. The extreme height from the ground to the top of the vane is 128 feet.

There are various interesting details in the interior of the church. Foremost among these is the font, placed at the west end of the north aisle. The base is of stone in an hexagonal form, and is of a comparatively modern date. The upper part, however, is circular and constructed of lead. It is two feet one inch in width, and about one foot in height. It is ornamented with twenty upright figures of men clad in flowing drapery. Each figure  holds  a  book in his left hand,  and stands under a semi-circular arch supported on slender pillars. These figures are almost precisely similar, and are rudely executed in bas-relief. Beneath them is a narrow border of fleurs-de-lis. The age of this font has been much over-rated by Lysons and Glover, who attribute it to the Saxon period. Lead fonts are very uncommon. The two best known instances in this country are those, at Walmsford, Northamptonshire, and Dorchester, Oxfordshire. In each of these examples the font is circular, and is embossed, like that at Ashover, with figures standing beneath semi-circular arches, but the best authori­ties consider their date to be late in the Norman style, about 1150. It is possible, then, that this font may have been in the church of Ashover when it was given by Earl Ferrers to the - Abbey of Darley, but this is the very earliest date to which it can be safely assigned. [This font has attracted considerable attention from archaeologists. Special mention is made of it in the treatises relative to fonts by Googh, Simpson, and others. It is engraved in the second volume of the Topographeriot the year 1790, where an unfulfilled promise is made of a further notice of the church at Ashover. The following is, we believe, a complete list of the leaden fonts to be found in England:—Ashover, Derby; Barnetby, Lincoln; Avebury, and Churton, Wilts; Woolston, Childrey, Long Whellington, and Clewer, Berks; Clifton, Warborough, and Dorchester, Oxford; Brundall, and Great Plumstead, Norfolk; Wareham, Dorset; Brookland, Kent; Pitcombe, Somerset; Siston, Cambridge; Tidenham, Gloucester; Walmsford, Northampton; Walton, Surrey; and Pyecombe, Sussex.

At the east end of each of the aisles is a projecting stone bracket that formerly supported the image of a saint These serve to point out the position of the side altars. The bracket in the north aisle consists of a female head, and is placed about eight feet from the ground. It is said that this great height was occasionally adopted when the image was of unusual value or beautiful work­manship, in order to preserve it from the too fond reverence of the worshippers. The doorway to the rood-loft staircase, though now blocked up, can be plainly discerned through the plaster in the south-east angle of this aisle. The rood-screen itself, which separates the nave from the chancel, is very perfect, and is a really beautiful specimen of the carved woodwork of the Perpendicular style. It is said to have been erected by Thomas Babington. Over the doorway of the screen, facing the west, is a shield bearing the arms of Babington—argent, ten torteaux, four, three, two, one, gules; a label of three points, azure—impaling the arms of Fitzherbert:—argent, a chief, countervair, over all a bend, sable. On the other side is a shield, with the Babington arms impaling—Between two bars, three fusils. This rood-screen bore a good deal of the original gilding and painting, until it was unfortunately cleansed at the repairing of the church in 1848. At the same time the rood staircase, with its two doorways, was blocked up, and a hagioscope, or squint, that opened out of the east end of the south aisle, was treated in a similar fashion. The reason for these barbarities it is difficult to conjecture. It is worthy also of note, that up to that date, several funeral garlands were to be seen suspended from the screen. The beautiful old custom of carrying garlands before the corpses of unmarried females, which were afterwards suspended in the church, lasted longer in Derbyshire than in any other part of the country. Five of these garlands may still be seen in the church of Ashford-in-the-Water, and one at South Winfield. An interesting description of this custom is given in the first volume of the Reliquary.

In the north wall of the chancel are two shallow recesses, formed by ogee-shaped arches, about six feet in width, and five in height. It is not usual to find two of these recesses. One or both of these were made use of in the pre-reformation days on Good Friday, when the crucifix, or a figure of our Lord, was placed under the Sepulchre arch, where it remained continually watched until Easter Day. From the centre of each of these arched recesses a bracket, eighteen inches in length, projects some six inches. These doubtless played some part in the ceremony, or may have served as supports for small sculptures connected with our Lord's burial. We have not elsewhere observed any instances of brackets thus situated, and another conjecture occurs to us, viz., that they may have been used to hold the lights or lamps for the sepulchre. In Cromwell's injunction, in the year 1538, we read, "The clergy were not to suffer any candles or tapers to be set before any image, but only the light by the rood-loft, the light before the Sacrament of the Altar, and the light about the sepulchre; these were allowed to stand for ornamenting the church, and the solemnity of divine service."

Between these two archways is a doorway leading into a small vestry of later date than the rest of the chancel there is also a doorway on the south side. About three feet from the east end of the chancel, on the same side, there projects, from the face of the wall, the basin of a small piscina. There is no niche in the wall over it, or behind it, and from this circumstance, as well as the flutings with which it is carved, we are inclined to think that this is a piscina of late Norman date, and coeval with the font. Norman piscinas are, however, of such rare occurrence, that we only offer this as a conjecture, in the hope that it may attract the attention of archaeologists who may in future visit this church.

The monumental remains are of much interest. At the east end of the chancel, within the communion rails, are two good brasses. The one on the North side is supposed by Glover to represent one " Robert Eyre, a friar." The figure of the priest is all that is now left, though the large sized slab, in which it is inserted, bears traces round the margin of a lengthy inscription, as well as shields of arms or other emblems on each side of and above the head. Owing to the minuteness with which brasses were finished, and the close attention paid by the artist to the prevailing costume, it is usually an easy matter to decide within a year or two the date of any brass to the memory of a knight or civilian; but, in the case of ecclesiastics, so little variation was made in their costume, that an approximation to the date is all that can usually be given. This brass appears to have been executed about the conclusion of the fifteenth century. The figure is clad in eucharistic vestments. Bound the neck is the richly embroidered collar of the amice showing above the chasuble which rests in ample folds on the arms. The chasuble has also a highly ornamented border. Below the chasuble is seen the inner vestment or alb descending to the feet. In front, at the foot, it is ornamented with a square of embroidery, called orphreywork, but the tight-fitting sleeves which appear from under the folds of the chasuble are plain. From between the chasuble and alb are seen the fringed ends of the stole, which is elegantly worked, whilst a maniple of the same pattern is worn depending from the left wrist. The hands are joined together on the breast, and the head is uncovered, displaying the tonsure or shaven crown of the clergy.

Bassano's church notes confirm the suggestion of Glover as to the surname of this ecclesiastic, for a portion of the inscription then (1710) existed :—" ye stone hath beene laid round with brass, but ye greatest part of it is rent off; on what remains is inscribed 'Hic jacet Philippus Eyre, Capellanus, quondam Rector hujus ecclesiee, et films Boberti Eyre, qui obiit decimo die mensis Januarii.'" The shield to the right hand bore, on a chevron four quatrefoils (Eyre), and that to the left "three pillars." Between the shields was a chalice with the letters IHS "upon a globe issuing out of it," as Bassano styles it; the " globe " being doubt­less intended for the eucharistic wafer.

After much research among the pedigrees of the widely-branching family of Eyre, we think we may safely conclude that we have identified the priest whom this monument commemorates. Robert Eyre, of Padley, married Joan, the heiress of the family of Padley, and had by her a large family. One pedigree represents it as fifteen in number, and another as thirteen. They certainly had ten sons, Robert, Nicholas, Hugh, Roger, Philip, Richard, Henry, Ralph, Edward, and Stephen, and three daughters, Joan, Elizabeth, and Margaret.* This brass is to the memory of Philip, the fifth son, and the arms read by Bassano as "three pillars" must be the maternal coat of Padley—Arg., three pairs of barnacles, Sa.— which, if represented as nearly closed, might easily be considered to resemble pillars. We do not know the exact date of the rectorship of Philip Eyre, but it was about the close of the fifteenth century. John Reresby was rector of Ashover in 1610, when he stood as godfather to one of the Foljambes. On the opposite side of the chancel is a well-preserved brass to the memory of James Rolleston, of Lea, and his wife Anna, the daughter of John Babington, of Dethick. The inscription, which runs round the margin of the stone, is to the following effect:— 

"Hic jacent Jacobus Rolleston de le ley armiger, et Anna uxor ejus, filia Johannis Babyngton de Dedyck, armigeri, qui quidam Jacobus Rolleston obiit...die mensis... Anno Dni Millessimo 5to . . . et predicts Anna obiit quinto decimo die Februarii Anno Dni Millessimo 5to vii, quorum animabus propicietur Deus. Amen." The spaces here left for the day, month, and year of the husband's decease, show that this tomb was erected during the lifetime of James Rolleston to his own memory and that of his wife. This was not an unusual custom, and it is curious that there are very numerous instances extant in which the descendants, as in this case, neglected to fill up the vacant spaces when death had taken place. The centre of the stone is occupied with brass effigies of the knight and his lady, whilst below them are the representations of their nine daughters and four sons. At the four corners are the cavities or matrices where escutcheons were originally placed; but these have all disappeared. The effigies merit a word or two of description, as they are good examples of the armour and dress of the period. The knight is clad in plate armour, but with his head and hands uncovered. The upper part of the body is protected by a cuirass. From the pauldrons, or shoulder-pieces, rise passe-gardes for the defence of the neck. To the bottom of the cuirass are buckled long pointed tuilettes for the protection of the thighs, whilst behind them appears a skirt of mail. The feet are clad in the round-toed clumsy sabbatons, a great contrast to the pointed sollerets to which they immediately succeeded. All these particulars are eminently cha­racteristic of the armour of the first few years of the sixteenth century, and it is somewhat strange to find that the sword, though girded at the left side, falls across the front of the left leg; instead of crossing behind the legs as was customary at this period. The cross haft of the dagger also appears below the right elbow. The lady is dressed in a long flowing robe with tight sleeves, which fits closely to the figure above the waist. It is confined at the waist by a broad ornamented belt, with a long pendant, and reaching almost to the feet. She wears the angular head-dress that prevailed in the latter part of the reign of Henry VII. and for several subsequent years. It is pointed stiffly over the forehead, and descends in embroidered lappets over the shoulders and back. It was usually made of velvet. The nine girls below their mother are faithful miniatures of her appearance, but the boys are dressed in long plain tunics.

The pedigrees only furnish the names of the four sons and one of the daughters. Ralph, who married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Richard Bingham; Thomas, who married Elizabeth (or Agnes, as one authority has it), daughter and heiress of John Turvile, of Newhall; Henry; William "clericus ;" and Matilda, who married Ralph Blackwell. Probably the other daughters died spinsters, or in their infancy.

The family of Rolleston came from Rolleston in Staffordshire. In the fourteenth century, a younger son of Sir Ralph Rolleston purchased the manor of Lea from the Frechevilles. Shortly after­wards, "William Rolleston married a daughter of Roger de Wynfield, of Edelstow Hall; and by this alliance his great grandson, the James Rolleston of the monument, eventually became also entitled to the Old-Hall Manor, one of the four manors into which, as we have already stated, Ashover was divided. The two manors of Lea and Old-Hall remained in the family till the latter end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when this branch of the Rollestons became extinct, and the estates passed to the Pershalls of Horsley, Stafford.

The date of the death of James Rolleston is not known, but he was a witness to the will of Thomas Babington in 1618.

We have reason to believe that this monument was removed to the chancel from the north aisle during certain alterations, which were made about the year 1798. From the interesting details given of this church about the commencement of the last century by Bassano, and from an account by another hand of about the same date, preserved amongst the Wolley MSS., it appears that the east end of the north aisle was railed off from the rest of the church, and was styled the Rolleston quire. Here were the various monu­ments to that family, of which the one we have described alone remains. One of these was " a marble stone, on which a peece of brass with an image, at whose head hath laine a peece of brass forme of a shield." Another was a large alabaster stone, bearing the portraiture of a man and his wife, and at their feet the follow­ing inscription :—" Hic jacent corpora Francisci Rolleston armigeri et Marie uxoris ejus, filie Johis Vernon militis, qui paldictus Franciscus obiit iii die Augusti Anno Dni 1687. Et predicta Maria obiit...die...."

The Francis Rolleston commemorated by this slab would be the son of Thomas Rolleston and Agnes Turvile, and grandson of James Rolleston, whose monument is in the chancel   He married Maria,  daughter of Sir John Vernon, and they had issue "George Rolleston de la ley, pensioner to Queene Elizabeth."

Besides the Rolleston monuments there was also in this aisle another alabaster slab to the memory of Thomas Babington and his wife Isabella. Thomas Babington, the son and heir of Sir John de Babington, of East Bridgeford, Notts., married Isabel, daughter and coheir of Robert Dethick, of Dethick, in the parish of Ashover. In his youth he sold his family estates to his brother, Sir William, who was Chief Justice of the King's Bench, in order to leave him­self more free to engage in the wars against France. It is said that the sword and bow which he bore at A gin court were long preserved at Dethick. The family chapel at Dethick had no rights of sepulture attached to it, and hence it came to pass that he and his descendants, as lords of Dethick, were buried in their parish church of Ashover. Thomas and Isabella had issue two sons, the eldest of whom, Sir John Babington, married Isabella, daughter of Henry Bradburne, of Bradburne and the Hough. A window to his memory is noted under the account of Staveley Church, and there is a tomb to his wife at Ratcliff-on-Soar. They had issue two sons and six daughters, one of whom, Anna, has already been mentioned as the wife of James Rolleston. The eldest son was Thomas Babington, of whom more anon.

At the east end of the south aisle was the "Babington Quire," enclosed by handsomely-carved screen-work, in the which were two doors, provided with lock and key, one from the south aisle, and one from the body of the church. Over the former of these doors were the arms of Babington impaling the unknown coat now on the screen, and over the latter Babington impaling Fitzherbert. The partition forming this quire has long ago been destroyed, but these two escutcheons were preserved and hung against one of the pillars which divides the south aisle from the nave. But in 1843 they were placed upon the rood-screen, which has been already described. The year before this restoration G. T. C. writes :— "The Babington chantry occupied the eastern bay of the south aisle, and enough of the wooden screen remains to show that it resembled the Babington pew, of about the same date, in the north aisle at Rothley." This quire, or chapel, was founded in 1611, by Thomas Babington, when he also erected the rood-screen and the singing gallery over it, the endowment of which was valued in 1647 at £5 Os. 4d. per annum. The following is a verbatim copy of the description of this chapel in the Chantry Roll:—" The Chauntry of Babington founded by Thos. Babyngton, Esq., for a prieste to synge masse within the paryshe church and to pray for his soule, etc., by foundacyon dated Ao. Dni. Md. xi and by the kyngs lycense Ao. iijo. Regis nunc cj. iiijrf. clere iiij li xvij*. vj. besyds viij li. xxd. payd in rents resolute to Thomas Babyngton esq., for the wagis of a priste at Dethecke iiij li. for the price of breade and herryngs gyven to everye householder there vj Sondayes in Lente everye of them \d and lykewyse on Good Frydaye and S. Valentynes days to everye one of them ob. eyther of the dayes; about his obitte yerlie, and S. Valentynes daye to priests and clerkes v«. Rich. Sewdall Chauntrye prist. It hath a mancyon prised at ij«. by yere. Stocke iiij li. xix*. viijrf."

Thomas Babington, on the death of his wife Editha, erected a magnificent monument to the joint memories of himself and his wife, within this chantry. Editha was the daughter of Ralph Fitzherbert of Norbury, by Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of John Marshall of Upton, Leicestershire, and sister of Sir Anthony Fitz­herbert, the celebrated judge. This monument still remains, and consists of a table monument of alabaster, supporting two elaborately carved effigies. The east end, or foot, of this monument has been most barbarously built into the wall, and it is very difficult to examine some of its details from the strange way in which it is boxed up by the surrounding pews. It is now almost impossible to trace a word of the inscription which formerly ran round the margin. The man's head is uncovered, and he has straight hair. The head rests on a pillow, supported at each side by a small figure of an angel. He is clad in a long plaited gown down to his feet; round the neck is a double chain composed of plain square links. On the right hand side is attached to his girdle a gypciere or purse, which was usually worn by civilians of that period. His hands are folded on his breast, and each fourth finger is adorned with a ring, whilst the feet rest on an animal of which it is hard to say whether it is intended to represent a lion or a dog—probably the former. The lady is clad in a close-fitting robe, fastened at the neck by tasseled cords, which are curiously twisted over the front of the figure. On the head is the angular head-dress with pendant lappets. She has a ring on the fourth finger of the left hand, and another on the little finger of the right. These effigies are both painted all over, with the exception of the hands and faces, in dull colours— red and green predominating. This colouring is evidently not quite modern, but it is equally evident that the pigments are vastly different from those which must have been originally used. The three sides of this monument, that are to some degree exposed, are beautifully carved with rich crocketed canopies, beneath which stand numerous small figures representing the fifteen children of Thomas and Editha Babington, and their respective marriages. On the south side there are six of these canopies; beneath each of the end ones are three figures, and the four others cover two apiece. At the head there are two single figures, and a double one in the centre, and these are flanked on each side by an angel bearing an uncharged shield. On the north side there are again two canopies, one covering three figures, and the remainder two apiece. All the female figures are clothed alike and adorned with chains and jewels. The males have for the most part pouches on their right side, and shields in their left hands, but one is in armour of mail, with a surcoat over it, and on his breast a cross fleury. This must be intended to represent the second son. The following is a list of the fifteen children and their marriages:—

  1. Sir Anthony Babington. He had two wives, the first being Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of John Ormund, of Alfreton (she died in 1605), and the second Catherine, daughter of Sir John Ferrers, of Walton and Tamworth.   He died in 1544, aged 69.

  2. John B. Knight of Rhodes, in which Order he held various important offices, the last being that of Grand Prior of Ireland, to which  he was appointed in 1527. There was formerly a slab in the south aisle of Ashover, inscribed "John Babington 15............" This we may safely assume to have been his tomb.

  3. Ralph B. He was rector of Hintlesham, Suffolk, and sub­sequently of Hickling, Notts. He took the degree of LL.D. at Cambridge in 1503, and died in 1521. He was buried in the chancel at Hickling.

  4. Rowland B., otherwise called Richard. He settled at Normanton, near Derby, and married Jane Bidge, of Kinway. He died in 1548, and was buried at St. Peter's, Derby.

  5. Humphrey B. He settled at Temple Rothley, in Leicester- shire, and married Eleanor, third daughter and co-heir of John Beaumont, of Wednesbury, Stafford. He died in 1544.

  6. Thomas B. He was rector of Yelvertoft, and died at Cambridge in 1511.

  7. "William B. He married Joan, the eldest daughter and co­heir of the above-mentioned John Beaumont; and secondly, Mary, daughter of John More.

  8. Robert B. He died in the Temple, London, and is there buried.

  9. George B. died in infancy.

  10. Elizabeth B. died in infancy.

  11. Anne B. She married, first, George Leche, of Chatsworth, and secondly, Roger Greenhaugh, of Teversall, Notts., who was also lord of the manor of Rowthorn, in the parish of Ault Hucknall.   She died in 1538, and is buried at Teversall.

  12. Catherine B. She married George Chaworth, of Winerton, Notts.

  13. Dorothy B. She married Robert Rolleston, of Swarkestone. (The Rollestons of Lea and of Swarkestone were the same family.)

  14. Jane B. She married George Meverell, of Throwley, Staf­fordshire.

  15. Elizabeth B. She married Philip Okeover, of Okeover, Staffordshire.

Thomas Babington died on the 18th March, 1518, so that we know that this tomb was erected prior to that date, though the exact year of the death of Editha has not been ascertained. By his will, of the month previous to his decease, Thomas Babington directs that his wife's tomb be not broken on his account, but that he be laid by its side. This injunction accounts for the existence of a separate memorial to him. Against the wall, immediately above the foot of this monument, is a slab of dark marble, worked at the top into a kind of canopy of foliage, and in the centre of this slab is fixed a small oblong brass with the following inscrip­tion:—"Here lyeth Thomas Babyngton, of Dethick, Esq., son of John, son & heyre to Thomas Babyngton, and Isabella hys wife, daughter and heyre to Robert Dethick, Esq., whych Thomas deceysed the 18th day of March, 1518. On whose souls Jhu have mercy." This inscription is rather vaguely expressed, and has caused Glover to jump to the ludicrous conclusion, that the Thomas Babington, whose tomb we have been describing, was married to Isabella Dethick as his first wife. So far from this being the case, Isabella was his grandmother! There can be no doubt that this brass is not in its original position, as mural brasses were then unknown. It is also palpable that it has not originally been connected with the slab on which it is now found. This slab is covered with a thick coating of white plaster, and upon it, for the information of those who could not decypher the black-letter brass in its centre, has been painted in sprawling letters, a transcript of the inscription! The effect is at once incongruous and ridiculous. The notes taken at the beginning of the last century come to our aid. Bassano describes this slab as "a stone in the wall, which hath contained in it a large piece of brass, which was rend off & stole away in ye time of ye Grand Rebellion." And Mr. Wolley, writing just at the close of the same century, says, that it formerly had a piece of brass fixed to it, nearly three-quarters of a yard in length and two feet, in breadth, but that it then bore no plate of any description. But on the pave­ment, close to the south side of the large monument, there was formerly a brass "representing the figure of death," i.e., a skeleton brass, and at its feet another brass with the inscription relative to Thomas Babington, already quoted, and which is now affixed to the slab on the wall. The skeleton brass had disappeared before Mr. Wolley wrote (1798), and the brass with the inscription having by accident been broken, "a gentleman of the parish, 'mindful of the honoured dead,' wishing to have it properly secured, caused the plate to be taken up for that purpose, when, much to his surprise, the following inscription was found engraved in the same kind of church-text on the under side of it:—

' Hie jacet Robertus Prykke armig. quondam serviens Fantrie dne Margarete regina Anglie, Tothes (sic) Robtus et Margarete liberi sui, qui quidem Robtus pater obiit xxiij die mense Maii, A° Dni Mcccc L° quorum animabus propicietur Deus. Amen.'

It, perhaps, may be proper to observe that neither this Robert Prykke (Serjeant of the Pantry to Queen Margaret), nor any other persons of his name are known to have had any connection with the parish of Ashover; neither does the name, to the best of my knowledge, occur in any ancient records relating to the place, or as witnesses to any deeds or conveyances of property in the neighbourhood. It is, therefore, presumed that this inscription was either engraved by the direction of some of Prykke's friends, or on account of its not being paid for, never delivered;  or otherwise, that the engraver,  employed by the  exe- cutors of Thomas Babington, being in want of such a piece of brass, took the liberty of borrowing this from some neighbouring church."* It is thus evident that this palimpsest brass to the memory of Thomas Babington was placed upon the slab against the east wall of the south aisle (in the place of a former unknown inscription) some time subsequent to this description of Mr. Wolley's.

It now remains to notice another class of memorials, which were specially abundant and interesting in this church so late as 1710, but which have since been ruthlessly destroyed—we allude to the heraldic glass in the windows. There was just a small trace of one or two escutcheons remaining before the last " restoration " in 1848, but since that time they have completely disappeared. But, before describing them, we will revert for a moment to the family history of the Babingtons, as it will be found explanatory of much of the blazonry. Sir Anthony Babington, the eldest son of the Babingtons whose monuments we have just been considering, married twice. His first wife, Elizabeth Ormond, was connected with a great number of ancient families, and was rightly entitled to a considerable amount of heraldic display. Robert de Chaworth, of an old Welsh family, married, in the reign of Henry I., the sister and heir of William de Waterville. Their grandson, William de Chaworth, married Alice, daughter and co-heir of Robert de Alfreton, who was the grandson of Robert Fitz Ranulph, of Alfreton and Norton, and founder of Beauchief Abbey. Sir William Chaworth, sixth in descent from this match, married, in 1898, Alice, daughter and heir of Sir John Caltoft, by Katharine, daughter and heir of Sir John le Bret. Caltoft represented Bassingbourne and Bisset; Bret represented Heriz of Wyverton, the elder coheir of Barons Basset of Drayton, Riddel, and Bussy of Weldon. Thomas, son of Sir William Chaworth, was twice married, his second wife being Isabel, daughter and coheir of Thomas de Aylesbury, by Katherine, daughter and heir of Sir Lawrence Fabenham. Aylesbury repre­sented Keynes, a coheir of the Barons Basset of Weldon, Riddel, and Bussy of Weldon, whilst Pabenham represented a coheir of the Barons Engaine, Montgomery, and Grey.

William Chaworth, son of Thomas, married  Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Sir Nicholas Bowet of Repinghall, who represented Zouch of Harringworth.

Of the issue of this marriage, the son, Thomas, died without offspring, and his sister and heir, Joan, married John Ormond, the brass to whose memory is described in the notes on the church at Alfreton.

By this marriage there were three daughters and coheirs, one of whom, Elizabeth, became the wife of Sir Anthony Babington. She died on the 28th November, 1505, and is buried in Ratcliffe Church, where there is an alabaster slab to her memory.

Sir Anthony Babington married for his second wife, Katherine, daughter of Sir John Ferrers, but, as the armorial bearings relative to this match and its numerous alliances are to be found chiefly at the chapel at Kingston, Notts., it would be foreign to our purpose to give any genealogical details. In the middle pane of the south window of Babington's quire was Babington and Dethick {arg., a fess vaire, or and gu., between three water bougets, sa.) quarterly, impaling Fitzherbert of Norbury and Marshall of Upton (Barry of six, arg. and sa., a canton, erm.) quarterly. In another pane of the same window was Babington, Dethick, and another coat undiscernible, quarterly, impaling quarterly of fifteen:—

  1. Or, a chief, gu. (Ormond).

  2. Barry of eight pieces, arg. and gu., three martlets, sa., (Cha- worth.)

  3. Az., two chevrons, or (Alfreton).

  4. Arg., eight mullets pierced, sa.

  5. Gu., a fess between ten billets, or (Bret).

  6. At., a frette, or. (Mandevile?).

  7. Arg., a bend vaire, as. and gu.

  8. Arg., two lions segreant, gu.

  9. Gu., a fess between six cross crosslets, or, three, two, one. (Engaine).

  10. Vaire, three bars, gu. (Keynes).

  11. Paly, or and gu. (Grey).

  12. As., a cross, arg. (Aylesbury).

  13. Gu., ten bezants, a canton, erm. (Zouch of Harringworth).

  14. Arg., three fusils in fess, each charged with a bezant.

  15. .................................................

It is obvious, then, that this window was inserted by Sir Anthony Babington in commemoration of his first marriage with Elizabeth Ormond. We have appended to the coats the names of the families to which they belonged, so far as we have been able to trace them. Numbers 4, 6, 7, 8, and 14 do not belong, as we might have expected, immediately to the families of Biddel, Basset, Heriz, &c, all of whose bearings have been consulted, though they are sure to be in some way connected with some of the very numerous alliances of the Ormonds or Babingtons.

In another window of the south aisle, but outside the Babington quire, was Babington impaling gu., seven mascles, 8, 2, 1, or (Ferrers), commemorating Sir Anthony's second marriage; and the same coat also appeared in one of the clerestory windows on the south side.

The clerestory windows must have been all treated as memorials to this family and its numerous alliances. Bassano notes in one of them the words " George Leeche . . . Babynton . . . wyfe;" and in another, the names and escutcheons of Philip Okeover, or his wife, Elizabeth Babington. These memorials to two of the sisters of Sir Anthony are to be taken simply as such, and not implying the burial of the persons named at Ashover; for Anne Babington, as has been already stated, was buried with her second husband at Teversall, and George Leeche, who died in 1505, at Edensor.

A clerestory window on the north side bore, in one pane, a quartered coat, 1st and 4th arg., a cinquefoil, az., on a chief, gu., a lion passant guardant, or (Rolleston); 2nd and 3rd vert, on a bend, arg., three crosses flory, ta. (Winfield); impaling or, three chevronells, vaire (Turvile). The ancient connection between the Rollestons and Winfields has been already given, and it further appears that the mother of James Rolleston, of the Lea, was Jane, daughter and heir of Rafe Winfield, of Ashover.

The marriage between Thomas Rolleston and Elizabeth Turvile has also been noticed, which is commemorated by this coat. The Visitations give seven generations of this old family previous to its becoming absorbed in that of Rolleston. In the middle pane of the same window was the quartered coat of Rolleston and Winfield impaling Babington,  and in the third pane the  quartered coat by itself, under it—" Ora................ statu Thomse.................. ejus ac paren ............. " This inscription makes it possible that Thomas Rolleston, as well as his son Francis and his father James, obtained burial in the church at Ashover.

The east window of the north aisle, in the Rolleston quire, also contained several coats. In the middle pane was quarterly, 1st and 4th, gu., on a bend, arg., three cross crosslets fitchee, so. (Reresby); 2nd, Barry, gu. and arg., a canton, erm. •* 3rd, gu., three goats, arg. (Gotham.) In another pane was Rolleston. Margaret Babington, one of the daughters of Thomas, son and heir of Sir Anthony Babington, married Thomas Reresby, of Thribergh, Yorkshire, and of Eastwood Old Hall, in Ashover. Thomas was the son and heir of Robert Reresby, by Anne, daughter of Robert Swift. The family of Reresby possessed Eastwood Old Hall in the reign of Henry III., and sold it in the time of James I.

The east window of the chancel contained, according to Bassano, this inscription—"Brian Rood ............. hujus Rector hanc novam fabricam fieri fecit;" according to another account, ". . . . Roos rector hujus ecclesiaa hanc novam fabricam fieri fecit."

Judging from the extensive remains of painted glass that existed here one hundred and fifty years ago, it is probable that All Saints, at Ashover, was unsurpassed by any church of the county in the beauty and interest of its windows. The removal and defacing of all images, ordered by Edward VI., in 1548, was interpreted to mean the destruction of all the figures of saints in the windows; but many images both of glass and stone escaped or were replaced, until the year 1648, when Parliament, by an Ordinance " for the utter demolishing, removing, and taking away of all monuments of superstition or idolatry," completed the work. But special exemptions were made, "that this Ordinance shall not extend to any Image, Picture, or Coate of Arms in Glass, Stone, or otherwise, in any Church, Chappell, &c, set up or graven onely for a monument . of any King, Prince, or Nobleman, or other dead person which hath not been commonly reputed or taken for a Saint; but that all such Images, Pictures, and Coates of Armes may stand and continue in like manner and forme as if this Ordinance had never been made."* It is not unlikely that the glory of the Ashover windows remained till this latter date, for, from the hint of Bassano, we know that it was visited and despoiled of some of its brasses at the time of " ye Grand Rebellion," and, in the destruction of the images on glass, much of the heraldry would also suffer. And now the indifference and ignorance of subsequent " improvers " have swept away even the last vestige of these speaking relics of the past.

The church underwent some extensive repairs in 1799, and Mr. Wolley, writing at the time, says—"It will give you pleasure to be informed that the gravestones, painted glass in the windows, and the carved arms on the pew doors, will all be carefully pre­served and replaced." But so far as the painted glass was con­cerned, this good intention does not appear to have been carried out, for several years previous to the restoration of 1843, another visitor could only find a single mutilated coat of Dethick. This latter visitor sayst—"The nave and aisles are heavily pewed with oak, and the names of the proprietors, according to the custom of the country, are carved upon the pew doors." This is another custom of which but very few traces remain in Derbyshire, and which subsequent alterations have almost destroyed at Ashover. The Reresbys, in whose family the advowson of the church long rested, naturally had their pews in the chancel, and on one of these were the initials T. B., M. B., and Reresby impaling Babington. On another pew was a quartering, 1st, Reresby, 2nd, arg., three pair of gemelles, gu., on a canton, gu., three fusils con­joined in fess; 3rd, arg. on a fess double cotised, gu., three fleurs-de-lis, or (Normanvile); 4th, gu, three goats, arg. (Gotham). Over tho coat the crest of a goat passant, and on another part of the same pew the word "Reresbie." These quarterings may be thus explained from the pedigree of the Reresby family given in the Yorkshire Visitations. Ralph Reresby married Margaret, daughter and heiress of Ralph Normanvile, and their great-grand­son Thomas Reresby married Cecilia, daughter and co-heiress of Richard Gotham, of Gotham. The second coat of this quartering was also borne by Normanvile at the time of the alliance above named, and it formerly appeared with the Reresby quarterings in the church windows of Chesterfield, Hope, and Rotherham.

One other family memorial m the nave deserves notice. It is a mural monument to the memory of the Dakeyn family, and is placed over the last arch on the north side. It consists of a plain black coloured stone with the following inscription in white letters.

"Gulielm Dakeyn. Norroy. Pater Richardi nat. Hartingt Sepult London, obit. 1580. Oct. 19." Here the stone is divided as though the upper portion had been part of an older monument, and then follow the words, Stubbin Edge, and the name of four other Dakeyns, viz:—Richard, 1581, aged 81; Arthur, 1682, aged 59 ; Henry, 1671, aged 57 ; and Arthur, 1720, aged 77. On looking at this monument it is at once apparent that the upper portion is several years later than the date 1530. The reason that causes us to draw atention to it is the untruth which it commemorates "Norroy" (or king of the north) was the title of the third king-at-arms of the Herald's College, and he had the same jurisdiction north of the Trent which " Clarencieux" had on the south. It does not, however, appear that William Dakeyn ever was Norroy King-at-arms, and it is most likely that this was a forgery of his grandson, William Dakeyn, in order to give more authority to his various inventions. William Dakeyn was apprehended by warrant from the Earl of Essex, Earl Marshall, on 81st December, 1697, for issuing false pedigrees and grants of arms " under hand and seal of Clarencieux."t He had previously been condemned to the pillory and loss of one ear for a similar offence, button this oocasion he was treated more leniently, for he was let off upon giving security, and making a fall confession of his various forgeries, which are still preserved in a volume at the College of Arms. The tower contains a peal of five bells. The following are their inscriptions in the order in which we decyphered them:—

  1. "All men that heare my mournfull sound Repent before you in the. ground. R. B...G. C. Wardens, 1680." On the  top of the bell  are  the initials T. B. faintly cut, and the founder's mark, below the legend, is that of George Oldfield.

  2. "Sweetly toling men do call To taste on meats that feede the soule." This  legend  is  not  unfrequently found   on  church   bells.    The date on this bell is 1625, and on the top are the initials G. H.

  3. "My roaringe sounde doth warning give That men cannot heare always live." The date of this   is   also   1625, and  the initials  I. T. are on the top.

  4. "Abraham Redfin, C. W., 1761. Tho. Hedderley, Founder." The scroll work round the shoulder and rim of this bell is beautifully finished.

  5. "The old bell rung the downfall of Bonaparte, and broke April, 1814. J. and E. Smith, Founders, Chesterfield. George Eaton, and S. Banford, churchwardens."

Fixed between the mullions of one of the windows of the bell-chamber is the old Sanctus bell. It is destitute of inscription or date, and is simply ornamented with a cable moulding. Its original situation was in a roughly constructed bell-cot, formed of three stones, which can be plainly seen on the gable of the cast end of the nave; the upper stone beiug pierced with the socket which supported it.

In 1291 Ashover Church was valued at £23 6s. 8d. per annum, and in the King's Books at £24 8s. l£d. The Parliamentary Commissioners describe it as a parish church and parsonage of the value of £136; Mr. Emanuel Bourne was then minister, and is praised as "an honest and able man."

This is not the place to descant on the romantic situation of the picturesque village of Ashover, but, by whatever route the traveller approaches it, one of the most charming features of the landscape is the light and graceful spire of the parish church, tapering above the foliage of the trees in which it is nestled, and we hope these "Notes" may induce him to pause and make a closer inspection of the many objects of interest with which this church is connected.