There has been a Church to St Peter on this site in Edensor since medieval times,
and when the Church was re-built by the 7th Duke of Devonshire in the 1800’s, many
of the original features of the early church were incorporated into the new one,
including the south porch, the early font, a number of pillars and arches, and the
magnificent memorial in the Cavendish Chapel. The architect for the Church we have
today was George Gilbert Scott, whose designs were approved in September 1864, just
after he had also won the competition to design the Albert Memorial in London, and
work began four months later. In addition to the external designs, Gilbert Scott
was also provided designs for many of the interior fittings such as the new font,
the pulpit, the altar table, communion rail, stalls, pews, and even the boot scraper
outside the porch! The building took 5 years to complete, at a cost of £14,000, and
the new church as consecrated in 1870.
Click a number in the map below to learn more about that section of the church.
Where sheep may safely graze, and keep the grass down! Please do not leave gates
open around the grazed area of the churchyard.
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1 A wall tablet
in memory of Sir Joseph Paxton who died on 8th June 1865, and whose tomb is in the
The large font incorporates four marble columns of Duke's red marble to its base.
The new font cover was designed by Michael Brayshaw, and represents flames rising
up, and water gushing in. It was made by Ray Bradshaw, and painted by Lawrence Udall
The Bell Tower (not accessible to visitors) holds a peal of six, all with the inscription
J Taylor & Co, bell founder, Loughborough 1867. They were renovated and re-hung in
1981. The Bell Tower is also home to the Church clock, made by Thomas Cooke of York
and dated 1867.
Brass plaque in memory of John Cottingham, steward to the 7th Duke of Devonshire
for many years. The beautiful west window above is also in his memory, and depicts
the virtues of a good steward. It was designed by the Birmingham maker, John Hardman
and was inserted in 1879.
The main body of the pulpit is constructed of alabaster, and the remainder of locally
derived marbles including bird's eye marble from Ashford in the Water, about 3 miles
away. This is an unusual form of Ashford black marble containing small crinoid ossicles
said to resemble a bird's eye. The columns are constructed from crinoidal limestone
and Duke's red marble, which is a fine red limestone heavily stained by haematite.
It also occurs in the sedilia and the font.
On the west wall, and originally behind the altar in the earlier church, is the memorial
to Bess of Hardwick's sons Henry Cavendish(died 1616) and William Cavendish, 1st
Earl of Devonshire (died 1625).
On the east wall is a monument to Charles Frederick Cavendish, son of the 7th Duke,
and Chief Secretary for Ireland, who was murdered at Phoenix Park Dublin, within
12 hours of landing in Ireland on 6th May 1882 aged 45. To the left is a case containing
the wreath of everlasting white and yellow chrysanthemums sent by Queen Victoria
to the funeral in Edensor on 11th May, which was attended by more than a quarter
of a million people.
Within the south church porch are incorporated some stones from the original church,
and on the left are three stone steps carrying a rather high sundial. These steps
were the base of a Saxon preaching cross.
Within the Cavendish burial ground at the top of the churchyard, is the grave of
Kathleen Kennedy. She married Billy Hartington, elder son of the 10th Duke in May
1944, and they had only 5 weeks together before he left with his regiment in the
Coldstream Guards to take part in the Allied invasion of Europe. On 10th September
1944 he was killed in action and was buried in a military cemetery in Belgium. Four
years later, his widow, Kathleen, died in a plane crash aged 28. The flat table of
stone records the visit to her grave of her brother, John Fitzgerald Kennedy on 29th