ST. MATTHEW’S CHURCH
We only have one Earth, yet our global population is currently using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the
resources we consume! This, plus a rapidly growing world population means our planet is really being squeezed. It’s not surprising that those who care for God’s creation take environmental issues seriously.
St. Matthew’s Church community is playing its part. For instance, parts of the churchyard are left un-mown, to allow wild flowers to flourish. In the spring there is a carpet of snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells. The superb oak, lime and yew trees within the church grounds provide excellent wildlife habitats, and teem with insect and bird life, accompanied by squirrels and rabbits. To promote greener living, cycle parking has been installed to encourage cycling to services.
The Porch, Nave and Chancel were re-roofed in 2009/10 using sustainable insulation panels. There are ongoing modernisation projects to upgrade electrical and heating systems to improve energy efficiency, reduce costs and lower carbon emissions, as well as to build a toilet, storeroom and boiler house, as soon as funds allow.
The religious life of Derrington dates back to the mid 12th Century, when Robert Fitz Nod of Ellenhall founded the priory of Ranton under the ‘Rule of Obedience’ of Haughmond Abbey, Shropshire and further endowed a church at Seighford with its dependent chapels of Ranton, Ellenhall and Dorrington (Derrington). This ‘Chapel of Ease’ as it was called, was situated in Chapel Field, believed to be to the rear of properties in Mount Pleasant.
The present day Church of St. Matthew was built and endowed at the personal expense of the Reverend Charles Smith Royds MA at a cost of £2,000 and was consecrated on 23 November 1847. Designed by Henry Ward, a local architect from Stafford who was also architect for the Borough Hall in Eastgate Street, it is built of stone in a decorated style, with a campanile and bell turret. On the north wall of the nave two tablets commemorate villagers who gave their lives in the two world wars.
A little extra information……
There is evidence of a Chapel in the village in the Middle Ages, thought to have been later converted into a barn and reputed that “the owner met a violent death therein”.
The Chapel appears to have been simply furnished as in the Return of Church Goods in 1552; it is noted as only having one bell, the entry reading – “On littell bell in Dirington Chapel”.
The way the Priest journeyed to Derrington from Seighford is preserved in the name Presford (Brook) i.e. Priest’s Ford.
Derrington wakes was held in 1896, for several years, with Dobby Horses, Gingerbread stalls etc., the biggest attraction being he “greasy pig” which was covered with lard, let loose in a ring, where the ladies tried to catch it.
The Porch, Nave and Chancel were re-roofed in 2009/10 using sustainable insulation panels at a total cost of £68,000 – thanks to a very supportive community and donations from the Alan Evans Memorial Trust, the All Churches Trust, the Clarke Charity Settlement the Garfield Weston Foundation, Seighford Parish Council, Stafford Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, and Staffordshire Historic Churches Trust.
Kneelers have been embroidered by many of the parishioners, and over the years there have been many donations in memory of loved ones, enriching the interior of the Church, and time lovingly given by devoted villagers in countless different ways. The designating and creating of three glass decorative panels, fitted in the east window in 1970; the hand-crocheting of the alter cloth, embracing the Lord’s Prayer; floral adornments tirelessly arranged throughout the year to name but a few.
A licence to have marriages performed at Derrington was not granted until 1979.
St. Matthew’s Church in 1902
Celebrating the Church’s centenary in 1947
Church Choir in the 1920’s
Back row (left to right)
Mr. E. Smith, Mr. G. Parton, Mrs E. Kirby (organist), Mr. Jim Ballance, Mr. G. Elsmore
Front row (left to right)
Miss Edith Amelia (Pop) Clay, Miss B. Ballance, Rev. St. C. Page, Mr E. J. Craig, Miss Alice Ballance, Miss Agnes Foden