Catholic Church, Hathersage (St Michael's)

Recent Photograph of Catholic Church (St Michael's) (Hathersage)

The foundation of a Catholic community in Hathersage may be traced back to Thomas BARLEY or BARLOW of Stoke Hall, marrying Matilda, the daughter of John FITZHERBERT, who had been arrested along with the Martyrs at Padley [See Padley Chapel]. On their marriage, Thomas sold Stoke Hall, and moved to Nether Hirst, where their house became a regular meeting place for the recusants of the High Peak.

The Catholic James II, who came to the throne in 1685 gave permission for English Catholics to build public and private Chapels. Adam FURNISS, the head of a prominent ‘recusant’ family owning considerable land in Eyam and Hathersage provided the land on which the Chapel was to be built. The money for building was provided by subscription from the large recusant population - at that time 140, more than anywhere else in Derbyshire. The deed for the land was signed 24th July 1691; the building was completed in 11 months and it was opened 24th June 1692.

The first priest at the Chapel was Bueno ANDERTON. During his priesthood it has been recorded that the Chapel was attacked and partly demolished by a ‘protestant mob’.

It took almost 100 years, and The Relief Act of 1791, before rebuilding could take place. Finance was provided by a bond executed for £6,000 by Thomas EYRE of Hassop “in trust for rebuilding the Chapel at Hathersage and the building of a house for a priest on Furniss lower meadow”. Rebuilding began in 1798 and the Chapel was reopened 24th July 1806. The first priest of the newly-opened Chapel was Edward EYRE.

In 1852 following the restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy (1850) the Diocese of Nottingham was founded and the Chapel was named St Michael the Archangel. In 1980 it became part of the new Diocese of Hallam.

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

Smith, Barbara M - A History of the Catholic Chapel at Hathersage, 1987. Published by Hope Valley Press. ISBN 0-9512614-0-1.

Image contributed by Alf Beard on 25th March 2004.
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