Bonsall, St James Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: The highest chancel in England
What to SeeOn the base of a column in the north aisle is a peculiar carved figure known as the Bonsall Imp, or the Little Devil. What is really odd is that the location means the figure would have been under ground level at one time, out of sight. Why was it made? One theory is that it commemorates the lowering of the nave in the 14th century. When the nave was lowered, it exposed the column bases, which are uncommonly large, for they probably did double purpose as foundation stones.
The lowering of the nave means that there are 7 steps up to the chancel, a fact which gives Bonsall's church its claim to fame; having the highest chancel in England. I confess I was a little unclear on what that meant when we visited St James, and I half expected to see a chancel that towered above the nave like a cathedral. Bu no, it is as mundane as a very large drop between the chancel and the nave below.
Also in the south aisle are a pair of medieval grave slabs, now standing upright near the altar. The slabs were removed from the church during restoration work in 1863 and stood for many years in the garden of a churchwarden named John Coates before being returned. The restoration was certainly necessary; a report in the Derby Mercury of 12 August 1863 says that 'This old building had been suffered to fall into a most unparalleled state of dilapidation through long continued neglect'.
About Bonsall, St James Church
Address: Church Street, Bonsall, Derbyshire, England, DE4 2AE
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Usually open daylight hours
Website: Bonsall, St James Church
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Cascades Gardens - 0.3 miles (Garden)
Peak Cavern - 0.7 miles (Family Attraction)
Peak District Lead Mining Museum - 0.8 miles (Museum)
Masson Mills - 1 miles (Historic Building)
Heights of Abraham - 1.1 miles (Family Attraction)
Cromford Mills - 1.4 miles (Historic Building)
Winster Market House - 2.8 miles (Historic Building)
Nine Ladies Stone Circle - 3.8 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Nearest Accommodation to Bonsall, St James Church: