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A History of the
Parish Church of St. Mary-the-Virgin

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Definitions of Words and Phrases used in the History Pages

Map showing early settlements in the South Derby Area

Time Chart of National and Local Events

The Founding of the Church at Boulton

Family tree of the Sacheverell family relative to the Manor of Boulton (in pdf format)

Transcript of the 1684 Judgement in favour of The Rev'd Joseph Cope

History of the Church from an account by the Rev. Harold Spencer, 1922 

A History of Boulton Church by Royden Greene 1953

Clergy of St. Mary's Boulton

Old Parish Magazines 

The Mission Church at Crewton

Index to the Historical Picture Gallery

Return to
Home Page

The first Internet Website of Boulton St. Mary's was launched in June of 2002 and by September of that year it included a history of the church as known at that time. With the benefit of more research and the invaluable assistance of Maxwell Craven MBE, the local historian and former Keeper of Antiquities of Derby Museum, we now have a greater understanding of the early period of our church. Mr Craven has most generously provided us with a copy of his work and that of his late friend Sir Reresby Sitwell which in all probability reveals the most accurate early pedigree of the Sacheverell family ever compiled. This new information is now included in our history of the church as shown on this Website.

It is important to say that we are looking at a part of our history from about the year 1100 AD where there is little documentary evidence available. Church registers in general do not begin until circa 1540 so we cannot say with any certainty when people were born, married or died as one who undertakes family history research today would normally expect. Having said that the need for accuracy based on the available evidence has been of serious importance in this work.

The present stone Church is of Norman origin and construction began about 80 years after William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, defeated the Saxon King Harold at the battle of Hastings in the year 1066. From this date Norman rule and culture was imposed on the people of England. There was sporadic resistance to Norman rule in some areas and total imposistion was not accomplished until 1071.

Boulton is situated about four miles south of Derby and the people of Boulton in the year 1066 are thought to have been Anglo-Saxons who had settled in this fertile area at around 550. They had crossed the North Sea in open boats and sailed inland via the rivers Humber, Trent and Derwent. The Roman occupation had ended in 410 and this led to the country being largely undefended and a prime target for settlers from the European mainland. Boulton was Bola's village and in a similar manner Alvaston was Alhwald's and Elvaston, Aelvold's. The town of Derby had its origin in the year 874 but prior to this date there was a Saxon settlement called Northworthy on the banks of the Markeaton Brook just south of the present day Derby City centre. Boulton was within the Saxon kingdom of Mercia with nearby Repton being a place of considerable importance. In the year 874 the Danish King Guthrie advanced with his army into the region and burned the monastery at Repton. The Danes also began building their own town of Derby or Deorby as it was called, meaning town of the deer. Deorby was immediately north of the Saxon village of Northworthy which it eventually absorbed.

It is possible that the Anglo-Saxon people of Boulton were of the Christian faith before the Norman invasion but it would seem unlikely that they would have had a church here. The Domesday Book compiled on the instructions of William the Conqueror in 1086 does not include any reference to a church in the manor of Boulton. There was a church in the neighbouring manor of Alvaston which had a much greater economy than Boulton. In those far off days of 1086 the manor of Alvaston included Ambaston, Thulston and Elvaston and the Domesday Book records that Alvaston had 15 ploughs as opposed to Boulton which had only 2. Also Alvaston had a mill, a smithy and a church as already mentioned with a resident priest. Making a comparison with Boulton is probably unfair because of the greater size of Alvaston manor but in 1086 Alvaston's value was given as 10 as opposed to Boulton's 20 shillings (1). It may be argued that in reality Boulton had not yet attained any sizeable development which could support a church.

The situation at Boulton changed about the year 1150 when the influence of the Sacheverell family would begin to take effect.

To give the reader as full a picture as possible of the history of Boulton St. Mary's, this Website also includes copies of the histories of the church as written in earlier times by Dr. J. Charles Cox, "Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire" Volume IV, published 1882, "Brief History of the Parish Church of St. Mary Boulton" by Rev'd Harold Spencer, curate of Boulton and "A History of Boulton Church" by Royden Green, a former Churchwarden of Boulton St. Mary's, published 1953.

Forward to:

The Founding of the Church


I would like to thank the following people for their generous help in compiling this revised History of Boulton St. Mary:-

Roy Christian

Joyce Colledge

Rachel Coupe, Church Administrator, St. Peter's, Derby

Carol Watson

Maxwell Craven MBE

The Staff of Derbyshire Record Office, Matlock and The Local Studies Library, Derby.

John Blaylock        
May 2015             

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Page last updated 09 July 2015