St Mary’s, Mappleton

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The History of St Mary’s

The history of this Church is unusually obscure. The village itself, though not the Church, is recorded in the Domesday Book 1089.  This fact, and the dedication to St. Mary, suggest a Post-Conquest foundation for the original building.

The Church is first mentioned in records in the reign of Edward 1. It was then made a Rectory, to  be held invariably by the Vicar of Ashbourne.  This was a way of compensating the latter, as his tithes from Ashbourne had been allotted to the Dean and Chapter of Lincoln.  He was instead entitled to the greater tithes from the small parish of Map(p)leton.

We hear nothing more until 1547.  A survey in the reign of Edward V1 showed Mappleton to possess 13 bells – a very large number, presumably handbells – and property worth £5.14s.4d.

By the time of the Commonwealth, in 1650, the Parliamentary Commissioners declared that Map(p)leton Church was “fit to be disused”, but it appears to have been some 100 years before that decaying structure was replaced with the present edifice.  To date the 18th century building with any precision is very difficult in the absence of definite records.

Some evidence for the early 1700s comes from a Terrier of 1887, which says the new Church was built in 1710.  This is supported by the date of 1717 on the Communion Table.

A date nearer 1750 is suggested by the Nottinghamshire Archives, which say the Church was ruinous in 1718.  The Communion plate and an oak box, the gifts of Thomas Austin, are dated 1752.  J. Cox, in Churches of Derbyshire, comes down in favour of the later date.  The architect, Gibbs, who also designed the nave of Derby Cathedral, was a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren.

Of the present furnishings, the pulpit came from Ashbourne in 1906.  The east window was a memorial installed in the 1920s.  The organ was a gift in 1976.

In 1974, Map(p)leton was brought into a United Benefice with Ashbourne and the title of Rector disappeared.