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St Oswald's Church

Mayfield Road, ASHBOURNE, DE6 1AN

Claimed to be Derbyshire's finest parish church, and a contender for one of the best churches in England, St Oswald's is splendid both inside and out. The exterior is dominated by a large central tower and tall, thin, elegant spire. Much of the church dates from the 13th century, including the chancel, although the huge east window is later, but contains some medieval glass. There are examples of all the great ages of English church architecture - Early English, Decorated and Perpendicular - throughout the church, especially in the windows. In the north transept are serried ranks of excellent monuments to the Cockayne, Bradbourne and Boothby families. Among the finest are those to Joan and Edmund Cockayne from 1404, Sir John Cockayne and his wife from 1447, and Sir Humphrey and Lady Bradbourne from 1581. Also here is the much later memorial, in pure white Carrera marble by Thomas Banks, to Penelope Boothby, who died in 1791 aged just five. The monument shows Penelope as if asleep and is generally considered to be a masterpiece of its kind. Penelope was already celebrated when alive, having been painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Queen Charlotte is said to have broken down in tears when she saw the statue at an exhibition.

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St Oswald's Church

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