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A little of the history of St Lawrence Church, Heanor.


It is unknown when a the first church building in Heanor was built, but we do know that by the Doomesday survey of 1086 there was a church in Heanor.


It is our honor to continue in this rich history of bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the people of Heanor.


We have 10 stained glass windows at St Lawrence.  Virtually all from the Victorian era.

The bells

There have been bells rung in the tower for many centuries.  The earliest record of the bells is 1547.


The bells were increased to a full octave in 1902 and were dedicated on the 8th December.


The incriptions are as follows:


Treble - A.M.D.G.

The bell was given in A.D. 1902 by John Holbrook, Churchwarden, in loving memory of his dear Son-in-law who died December, 17 1900. Aged 27 years.


2nd - God save the King + 1902.

C.E.L. Corfield + M.A. + Rector.

Thos. Mayfield J.P. Holbrook, Wardens.

Guild of St. Lawrence.


3rd - The Churches praise I sound always. 1781.

Thos. Hedderly of Nottingham Fecit.


4th - + GOD SAVE HIS CHVCH 1634.


5th - H.C. LAUS DEO.

This bell was recast A.D. 1902 when increasing the peal from 5 to 8.


6th - Gloria in excelsis Deo.

This bell was recast in memory of

Florence Astle. 1972.








Recast 1972 Taylor, Loughborough.


John Taylor & Co. Founders, Loughborough.

Thise bell together with new frame work and chimes was erected

by public subscription

to the glory of God. A.D. 1902.

John Andrews, Chairman.

H. J. Windle, Secretary.

Weight: 15 cwt. 2qrs. 4lbs. Diameter; 45 inches.




Rectors and vicars of Heanor

Through the dedicated work of Rev. Cox and others we are able to name many of the ministers of the parish during its history.


Use the link above to see the list.

The building

The foundation of the church is unknown but is likely to have been on St Lawrence's day.  There has been a church in Heanor since before the Doomsday record.


The stone Saxon building was replaced by a larger sandstone building between 1200-1400; the tower is believed to have been added in the 1400s. 


Early records indicate that this tower originally had a spire, it is possible that the spire was removed and the top of the tower extended following the collapse of a similar spire in Ilkeston in 1714.


A clock was added to the South side of the 1647, this was replaced in 1886 and faces were added to the other three sides of the tower.  It is believed to be the first ringing tower clock made by Smiths of Derby.


In 1867 due to decades of neglect under the previous incumbent the largely medieval building, except for the tower, was demolished and replaced with a far larger building retaining the tower.    It is believed to be at this point that the church for an unknown reason also changed it's patron saint from St Michael to St Lawrence.


It is worth noting how large a step of faith that the rebuilding at this point was, the church at the time had only 14 communicants, and was rebuilt with a capacity for 400.


Due to increasing problems with experimental foundation methods used by Robertson and Stevens, the Victorian building had to be largely demolished and replaced with a lighter framed building designed by Professor Kenneth Murtha. The new building retaining the tower, Victoria's Jubilee vestry, North side, and original choir vestry.  Due to rapidly increasing prices not all the projects were completed, however the new design incorporates the church hall into the main church footprint and allows for the building to be used for a variety of community uses. 


It was rededicated by the Bishop of Derby in 1982.




The Knights of
Codnor Castle

"When the body of the old parish church at Heanor was taken down in 1868 to be replaced by the present building, the Codnor Castle vault was broken open by the falling of one of the beams of the nave roof.


The large stone covering the steps about three freet to the East of the present font was shattered, and on its removal an inspection of the interiour was made by the rector and myself, accompanied by Mr. Woodhead, one of the Churchwardens,


Here we found seventeen leaden coffins, most of which lay side by side upon the floor, several smaller ones being placed upon them. Some of the larger ones measured from seven feet, to seven feet and four inches in length, and upon three at least of them were what appeared to have been swords and shields of arms, but these crumbled away as soon as touched.


The vault was afterwards filled with other coffins taken from beneath the old square pews, and lying above the present floor level, and a gravestone having been placed over the entrance, the whole was covered with concrete."

Extract from  N. Ball's "History of the Parish of Heanor"

Church-wardens of Heanor

Through the dedicated work of historians we can name nearly 400 years of Church-wardens.


This list is currently being transcribed and we aim to make it available shortly.

The 16 of Heanor

The Church at Heanor has long held that the church and the community are one.


Early in the Elizabethan era the church and community had a formal organisation of "16 men" who were in charge of both church and community affairs - from ensuring yearly church-wardens were elected, to rebuilding bridges after destruction by flood.


It is believed that although the first mention of the 16 was during the Elizabethan era the structure was actually from Saxon times and formalised under Elizabeth in the same way that Parish registers became formalised.  The origional 16 believed to have been the 16 heads of local families.


Over time the duties of the roles seperated into church and town councils, both having clear links to their earlier forbearers in the 16.


Heanor was one of the first churches to adopt the Parocial Church Council structure that is known in all Church of England churches today.  It was quite revolutional from it's very start in that women were given the same rights and privilages to both stand and vote as members of the council as men in a time when such rights were not yet available in normal politics to women.


This reflected an earlier tradition that some of the "16 men" were actually women.


We are still researching information on the 16 and hope to have more information and a list of names available in the future.

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