St Hugh's Mission Church - Foolow


This information was taken from a leaflet available at the Church,
and contributed by Derek Lee.

The main body of the building was originally a smithy. An entry in the Eyam Parish Magazine for July 1888 records, “We have received a very liberal offer from Mr Bagshawe of Sheffield, from himself and the trustees of his late brother for the purchase of the old smithy, and we estimate that the total cost of the purchase and of necessary alterations will not exceed £150”.

The foundation stone of the Church was laid on August 15th 1888 and the opening took place on December 17th of that year. “On Sunday 18th December the Church was dedicated to God in the presence of an attentive congregation by the Holy Communion” (Eyam Parish Magazine). The Chancel was added later and opened on Dec 17th 1889. The porch was added at a later date but there are no records to substantiate when.

The Friends of St Hugh's, both through labour and funds raised for specialist works, fully restored the porch in 2000. The mirror on the left was purchased through the legacy of Mrs Gladys Goodwin. A bequest by Peter Goodwin and a generous donation from the Goodwin family enabled us to purchase the glazed doors opening onto the nave. The doors were made by Ron Turner, a local craftsman. The curtains both at the entrance and framing the chancel were made by members of the congregation.

On the small table at the back of the church rests 'The Good News Bible', this was given by Emily Slater. As we move around the church we see an oak wall plaque in memory of Mr J A S Sands. Dedicated on June 3rd 1974 it was carved by Mr Butterfield of Sheffield, who by strange coincidence was a student of Mr Sands when he was lecturing at the Sheffield College of Art. The organ was installed on March 15th 1951. It was purchased from a private house in Mexborough and was originally pumped by hand. The organ was completely rebuilt by Mr Kitchen of Sheffield and financed by Friends of St Hugh's. The organ stool was also purchased through Mrs Goodwin's legacy.

The lectern holds an old family bible donated by Frank & Rita Robinson and replaces a much older one originally given by Edale Church Choir to Mr William Burdekin on the occasion of his marriage[1]. The Burdekin family had many connections with Foolow. Sadly this unique bible was stolen in 1995 and can never be replaced. The altar was donated by Mr Peter Goodwin in memory of his wife and was made by local craftsman Brian Norton of Foolow. A small wooden cross in one of the Chancel windows was given by Mrs J A S Sands in memory of her father. The brass altar cross was given in memory of Mr Thomas Gregory of Eyam View in 1907. The Communion Book was presented in 1947 by the relatives & friends of Mrs N Humberstone for many years a Churchwarden and Church worker. Mrs Edith Armitage gave the altar vases in 1924 in memory of her husband Walter. The candlesticks were given in 1924 in memory of Mr Samuel Redfern, a former Churchwarden. The Book of Common Prayer was given in memory of Miss Lilian Eyre (1902 - 1993) a resident of Foolow and a faithful member of this Church

Miss A Bagshawe gave the Rector's carved chair and the carved plinth behind the altar. Miss Bagshawe walked each Sunday to the service in Foolow from her home in Great Hucklow. She was sometime organist at St Hugh's and the carvings were done by her when a student of Mr Hunston of Tideswell. Maurice and Edith Rigden donated the offertory plate. Mr Rigden was treasurer of St Hugh's for a number of years and Edith served as Churchwarden and plays the organ.

The reredos panels behind the altar feature the skill of Mr J A S Sands. Depicting St Hugh, patron Saint of this small Church, both as a young man and later when he was bishop of Lincoln. St Hugh (1140-1200 AD), was renowned in his lifetime for his concern for the poor and outcast and also for his piety. He was called the 'English St Francis'. A man of independent mind he took the lead, along with the Bishop of Salisbury, in refusing the demand from Richard I for money to finance the King's wars. The oak panel over the chancel, bearing the text “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty”, replaces the original text painted directly onto the plaster which is seen on early photographs of the Church interior. A further coincidence is that this panel was lettered by Mr Derek Lee who was also a student at the Sheffield College of Art at the time when Mr Sands was Principal there.

The wooden plaque on the return wall is in memory of Harry Redfearn of Foolow (1881-1949) and Elizabeth his wife (1890-1977).

The font is dated 1890 and was made by another local craftsman, Mr Hill of Litton. It bears the text ‘Suffer little children to come unto me’ and has several Christian motifs worked into the design. A crystal bowl lines the font - it was donated by Mr Wilson Hoyland in memory of his wife ‘Tess’ Hoyland. Behind the font are two painted panels. These are also the work of Mr J.A.S. Sands and represent the theme of the creation. Completed in 1954 all the children in the village at that time were asked to choose some small animal or insect to be represented on the panels.

The stained glass windows are dedicated to the memory of relatives of congregation members. The brightly coloured tapestry kneelers are the work of members of the congregation and are also dedicated to the memory of loved ones.

Editor's Note:
[1] William Burdekin was married in 1897.

This account was contributed by Derek Lee on 16th September 2003.

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