There was a Saxon church in Bakewell in 920 and the churchyard is home to two 9th century Saxon crosses - a large somewhat damaged one in an enclosure on the north-east side of the church and a smaller, better preserved stump (which was found at a local farm and re-sited here) just to the east of the entrance. In and around the church porch there are many fine carved fragments of Saxon stonework found during restoration work in the 1840s and some ancient stone coffins.
The present church was started in late Norman style in the 12th century but only the West front and part of the North and South arcades of the nave survive from this period; the rest was built from 1220-40, with the spire added in 1340. A drastic renovation in the 1840s was almost a rebuilding - the spire, which was in danger of collapse, was completely rebuilt along with the central portion of the church.
Bakewell was the town of the Vernon (and later the Manners) family and the church has some interesting relics of them, plus a fine 14th century font.
In the Vernon Chapel off the South aisle there are some magnificent tombs: that of Sir Thomas Wendesley, who was killed in the battle of Shrewsbury in 1403;
Tomb of Sir Thomas Wendesley
of John Vernon of Haddon Hall, who died in 1477; and of Sir George Vernon and his two wives.
Sir George, who was known as the 'King of the Peak', died in 1567, but his chief claim to fame is now as the father of Dorothy Vernon, who famously eloped from Haddon Hall with Sir John Manners - they also have a monument at the South end of the chapel, while at the opposite end there is a monument to their son, George Manners and his wife Grace. Outside the chapel is a much smaller but very beautiful monument: - that of Sir John Foljambe (died 1377) and his wife, carved in alabaster.