Church of St John the Baptist | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Church of St John the Baptist

Buxton, United Kingdom

Lily Johnson

29 Jan 2021
Image Credit: Electric Egg / Shutterstock

About Church of St John the Baptist

Often dubbed ‘The Cathedral of the Peaks’, the Church of St John the Baptist in Tideswell is one of the most impressive parish churches in the area. At 700 years old, St John the Baptist transports visitors back to medieval England, with a fascinating history to match.

Church of St John the Baptist history

As Tideswell appears in the 1068 Domesday Book, it is likely that the first wooden church was built on the site following the Norman Conquest – the first priest in the village was not recorded until 1194 however.

In the mid-13th century, St John the Baptist found itself caught in the midst of a vicious dispute between Lincoln Cathedral and Lenton Priory in Nottinghamshire. Both claimed ownership over the church and its parish, as traditionally it belonged to Lenton Priory, granted so by the influential Peveril family. Following William Peveril the Younger’s fall from grace however, it was seized by William II and distributed to his son John, later known as the infamous King John. He in turn redistributed the parish to Lichfield Cathedral, beginning 3 centuries of strife between the two religious houses, with the issue even reaching the Vatican Court on several occasions.

In 1250, the tension reached an all time high when St John the Baptist itself bore witness to a bloody brawl within its walls. Monks from Lenton Priory stole away to Tideswell to attempt to steal a flock of their lambs and wool, however the Dean of Lichfield preempted this and had the flock placed inside the walls of the church for safekeeping. The monks duly broke into the church and a bloody fight ensued with the Dean’s men, in which 18 lambs were killed. The Pope fined the monks heavily, yet the dispute raged on until Lenton Priory was eventually dissolved by Henry VIII.

St John the Baptist continued to thrive, with the captivating church as it stands today constructed between 1320 and 1400. The 80 year construction period was due to delays caused by the Black Death that was ravaging the area!

St John the Baptist today

Today the church holds daily services and is open to the public, with a wealth of beautiful features to be found inside. Among these are a number of interesting tombs, including that of Samson Meverill, who died in 1462 and likely fought at Agincourt in the Hundreds Year War. An impressive 14th century tomb in the Bower Chapel is also of interest, as it is covered by two detailed alabaster figures of the couple buried there, thought to be Sir Thurston and Lady Margaret de Bower. Intricate wooden carvings can be found at the end of each pew, while atmospheric stone archways stand tall overhead.

Getting to Church of St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist is located in the village of Tideswell, in Derbyshire. The village is situated just off the A623 Chapel-en-le-Frith to Chesterton road, south of the B6049 junction coming from Hope Valley. There is street parking in the village.

A number of bus services run through Tideswell, such as the 65 and 66 from Buxton and the 173 from Bakewell, and the nearest train station is Buxton.

Featured In

Top Historic Sites in the Peak District

Discover 10 of the Peak District's best historic sites, from the eminent Chatsworth House to the mysterious Lud's Church. While renown for some of the UK's most breathtaking natural sites, the Peak District is also home to a wealth of history spanning from the Bronze Age to World War Two.