St John the Baptist Chelmorton
At 1200 feet above sea level, Chelmorton is the highest parish in the Derby Diocese and the highest church with spire anywhere in England. It is built into the hillside at the top of the linear village of Chelmorton, with its historic listed field strip system, and this means that different parts of the church are built on different levels.
The earliest written reference to a church here dates from 1256 but fragments of stonework within the existing building suggest that there was a building here before that date. St John the Baptist has a number of unique features, including its golden locust weathervane.Throughout its existence the church has suffered from the adverse climate it endures so high above sea level. This has necessitated a number of extensive restoration programmes over the years, with major work carried out in the thirteenth, sixteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This restoration work continues today with repairs aimed at ensuring the safety of the tower and spire, with its famous locust, being completed in early 2011.The five bells can now be safely rung.
The church has many internal features of interest, some dating back many centuries.The Lady Chapel, for example, was built in the second half of the thirteenth century as a chantry and became a lady chapel as the church expanded. It is now enhanced by the twentieth century Embroidered Panels that show some of the history of the village, plus the flora and bird life common to this part of Derbyshire The building is a Grade II* listed building