Pub / Church combination!

An unusual church can be found in the charming little village of Dale in the county of Derbyshire. Although it took me a while to find it I was pleasantly surprised as to how trusting the locals were. Initially I ended up at Stanton-by-Dale and I was given directions to head back to Dale where I would find the Carpenters Arms pub, this I did and parked in the car park and I presume it was the landlord came up to speak to me, I told him that I was looking for All Saints Church and he told me to follow the road opposite the pub which would lead me there. He also told me that I should call at a house on the other side of the road and they would give me the keys to the church so that I could photograph the interior. This I did, and suitably armed with the keys I set about finding the church.

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Where the connecting door used to be

This tiny church was once connected to a pub called The Bluebell, although these days it is a private house. At one time there used to be a connecting door between the pub and the church, in fact the vicar would get changed in the pub before entering through the door into the church, it gives a whole new meaning to the words Holy Spirit! The church was originally thatched and when I arrived here I spoke to the builder who was in the process of doing some building work which involved removing some of the render which had come loose on the front of the church. The door to the church was already open so I didn’t need the keys after all. After entering the church it came as no surprise to find how small it was, and yet it seemed to make use of every square foot of space. There is a tradition that one of Robin Hood’s men, Alan a Dale was married here, he does seem to get about a bit as he was said to have been married in the church at Steetley.

The church dates from the twelfth century and seems to have originated from a Baker who became a hermit who had a vision, this strange story is as follows:

Around 1130 A.D a Baker from Derby called Cornelius had a dream, in which the Virgin Mary told him to go to Deepdale (the old name for this place) and worship God. The Baker responded to Gods call and came here. He dug the cave in the hillside and lived in it for about 20 years.

If you follow the track which runs past the church there is a wood behind it, if you follow the path it brings you to the place where the hermit had carved out his home in the sandstone which can still be seen.

The Hermitage seems to have been divided into two parts, the western end was probably a chapel, with a niche for a cross and some candles, and the eastern end was the hermits living accommodation. Outside, high in the rock face, are some square holes, suggesting there was once a lean to shelter, possibly for a few animals, firewood etc. He obtained water from Hermit’s Well, situated near the churchyard.

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