There are many fine churches in the Peak, but there are four that stand out from the rest. These are Tideswell, Bakewell, Hathersage and Youlgreave.
Youlgreave was in the Domesday Book, and the first mention of the church was in 1150, when it was given to St Mary's Abbey in Leicester. However, it is quite likely that there was a church here in Saxon times. The Nave and North Aisle of the church are Norman and date from 1150-1170, but the arches above are early Gothic and it seems likely that the church was altered and added to over a period of years, with several changes in style. It is possible to see this by viewing the wall of the North Aisle from the churchyard.
The chancel and South Aisle were added in the 14th century and the tower with its set of bells in the 15th century. The church was restored by Norman Shaw about 1870.
Inside the church there are two fine mediaeval tombs in the chancel. The first is that of Sir John Rossington, dating from the 13th century. He lies, cross-legged holding a heart in his hands with his feet resting on a dog. It is a simple and moving monument.
12th century pilgrim
In the centre of the chancel is a later and more elaborate monument to Thomas Cockayne, a local man who was killed in brawl in 1488. He is represented in plate armour of the period, but the effigy is relatively small because he died before his father.
In the North Aisle there is an altar with a beautiful alabaster reredos which is a memorial to Robert Gilbert and his wife Joan, who died in 1492. This was originally part of a tomb in the South Aisle and has been moved at some time. The aisle is dominated by a Jacobean memorial to Roger Rooe of Alport, who died in 1613 and is shown facing his wife with their eight children below.
Just by the door as you enter is the font, which is Norman and very well-preserved. In the wall of the Nave, facing the door when you come in, there is a small carved figure which has been dated to the 12th century and which may represent a pilgrim. This is not its original position, and exactly what it represents is unclear, but it is very pretty.
There is a fine East window, made by William Morris to a design by Edward Burne-Jones, one of the Pre-Raphaelites. The roof of the Nave is well worth a look. It dates mainly from the 15th century, but was restored in the 19th century. It is a good example of a roof of the period and has roof bosses in the form of coats of arms and fantastic creatures.