TIcknall: Church of St George

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The parish Church of St George in Ticknall was built in 1842 and was designed by the English architect Henry Isaac Stevens. The building is constructed of coursed squared sandstone and ashlar and is in the Perpendicular Gothic architectural style. The church features a battlemented west tower with an octagonal stone spire.

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The chancel features a double chamfered arch and 19th century furnishings.

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The nave roof features spindly hammer beam type beams with pointed arches. The Church of St George is Grade II Listed.

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Ticknall: Medieval Church

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Located near to the present church of St George is the remains of Ticknall medieval church. The medieval church was originally built as a chapel dedicated to St Thomas Becket and was first mentioned in the early 13th century. Completely rebuilt in the 14th century followed by alterations in the 15th century, the chapel became the parish church by 1650. After falling into disrepair during the 19th century, permission was granted to build a larger church – the present church of St George which was built in 1842. The medieval church was blown up with gunpowder in 1841.

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Some of the stone was reused in the building of the new church. There are surviving remains below ground with two fragments of the medieval structure above ground. The surviving walls are constructed of coursed, squared sandstone and ashlar with a surviving three light window with intersecting tracery.

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The remains of the medieval tower and buttresses (above) with part of the west wall which retains the jamb and the first three voussoirs. The medieval church is Grade II Listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Hardwick Old Hall

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Situated 100m southwest of Hardwick Hall is the ruin of the Old Hall. The Countess of Shrewsbury, Bess of Hardwick, was the second most powerful woman in England next to Queen Elizabeth. Gaining wealth through her four husbands, Bess was born in the Old Hall in 1527 and returned here in 1584 following the breakdown of her marriage to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Although planning her new hall opposite, Bess began to extend the Old Hall in 1587. The Old Hall was for Bess, her family and entourage whereas the new Hall would be for ostentation, entertainment and special guests.

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Constructed of local sandstone and finished with rough plaster, the Old Hall was a radical modern mansion with the latest Italian innovations in house design. Evidence suggests that the south and west walls predate the rebuilding of 1587 indicating that the old manor house which stood on the site in 1525 had been incorporated into the building.

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The Italian Renaissance villa layout was replicated with the great hall placed in the centre of the house in an attempt to create a symmetrical layout. The great hall retained its symbolic importance as the heart of the house and was still the first reception room for all visitors.

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Impressive plaster work in the Hill Great Chamber

The hierarchy of room status is echoed in the layout – the higher the room, the better it was. The third floor of the building was the highlight for visitors and was made to impress. The Great Hill Chamber still features part of the deep plaster frieze of a double arcade, which was the fashion in northern Italian houses. With design elements taken from Roman architecture, the decoration was strongly influenced by Renaissance art. Hardwick Old Hall is Grade I Listed and maintained as a controlled ruin by English Heritage.

Swadlincote: Constitutional Club

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Located on Midland Road is the Swadlincote Constitutional Club. The Edwardian building features an arched entrance, sash windows and coped brickwork. The building was included in a conservation scheme in 2008 during which several buildings in Swadlincote underwent repairs and restorations.

Swadlincote: Market Hall

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Located on West Street is the former Town Hall – now Market Hall. The brick building was erected in 1861 with money raised from public subscriptions. A ‘Petty Crimes Court’ was held every Tuesday under the clock which cost the sum of £44.

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The exterior of the hall on Midland Road features five arched windows with buttresses incorporating four shops below. The row of shops were added to the side of the Market Hall in the 1950’s. Stone steps from the side lead up to the main arched entrance.

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Built with funds raised by the Reverend J.B.Stevens, the slogan ‘Time the Avenger’ was inscribed below the clock as a condition for a donation of £20 by a member of the local gentry. Sir Henry and Lady Sophia Des Voeux  both contributed £20 each towards the building of the Town Hall.

Swarkestone: St James Church

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Situated down a quiet lane by the banks of the Trent and close to the historic Swarkestone bridge is the church of St James. The church was originally constructed in the 12th century and is built with ashlar and rubble stone. The building was heavily restored in 1874-76 by F.J.Robinson with only the 14th century tower and 16th century Harpur chancel remaining intact.

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Sculpted angel tombstone in the graveyard

The church is of St James is Grade II* Listed.

Melbourne: St Michael & St Mary Church

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Set in the Georgian market town of Melbourne in Derbyshire, the Parish church is one of five churches in the town. The Domesday book records a church and priest here in 1086. Built in 1120, it has been described as a “cathedral in miniature” due to being one of the most ambitiously planned Norman parish churches in Britain. Normally found in cathedral and abbey churches, it has an aisle nave extending six bays from a twin tower west facade. Except for the eastern end, most of the original masonry is intact.

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The bell stage of the tower was added in 1602. Gilbert Scott undertook a restoration of the church in 1859-1862 but parts of the church date from the restoration in the 1630’s. St Michael & St Mary’s church is Grade I Listed.