Reading Room, Stoney Middleton

Recent Photograph of Reading Room (Stoney Middleton)

The plaque which can be seen above the doorway, and just below the eaves says:-

In Loving Memory of
2nd Baron Denman
of Dovedale.

This site was once occupied by a Unitarian Chapel. “The aged preacher came from Great Hucklow to Middleton every Sunday until the congregation gradually dwindled away. The building was then sold to Lord Denman. A private school was afterwards kept in the Chapel for a time by Mr. Dyer, one of the congregation, who was ‘a Dyer by name and by trade’.”[1]

Certainly, Gladwyn Turbutt, in his History of Derbyshire[2] records that William Bagshawe of Ford (1628-1702) - the 'Apostle of the Peak' - founded a Presbyterian ministry here, along with nearby Great Hucklow, and Bradwell, Charlesworth, Ashford, Chelmorton and elsewhere, so a building on this site might have been a contemporary of the chapels at Great Hucklow, and Bradwell, founded in 1695-6.

This may explain how it happened that some residents of Stoney Middleton and surrounding villages had baptisms recorded in the registers of Great Hucklow Presbyterian Chapel.

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

[1] A History of Stoney Middleton, Chapter XXV, Miscellaneous (Thomas Cowen, 1910).
[2] Turbutt, Gladwyn - A History of Derbyshire, 1999, p.1153.

Image contributed by Peter & Janet Kirk on 8th April 2003.
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