St Mary's has a musical peel of ten bells plus the small sanctus bell, but only two have any
pretensions to antiquity. The tenor is 14cwt 3 quarters and 16 pounds and has the
inscription 'Jesus Be Our Speed 1617' and the 7th bell has a latin inscription and was cast
circa 1590. The small Sanctus bell is usually described as "pre-Reformation", and is known
locally as 'Tom Tinkler'. This bell is used to summon people to services.
To learn more about St Mary's Bells and the Bell Ringers click
To the left of the south door lies part of a broken memorial stone from the demolished
village school. It was here that the teacher could neither read nor write and signed her
name with an X!
Outside, at the south east end of the church is a very early stone coffin, which contained
human bones when it was found in 1769. The earliest marked grave is that of Richard
Lorde, who died in the year 1600. He was Vicar of Ecclesfield from 1585-1600.
The churchyard contains the graves of some well known people. They include the eminent
historian, Joseph Hunter in the north east corner, and close by, the grave of Henry
Jackson, a surgeon at the General Infirmary in Sheffield. On the north side of the church is
the vault of the Revd Alexander John Scott D.D. He was chaplain to Lord Nelson, who
died in his arms on HMS Victory, at the battle of Trafalgar. Dr Scott died at Ecclesfield on
a visit to his daughter, Margaret Gatty, wife of Alfred Gatty. The Revd Gatty, his wife and
infant sons are also buried in this vault. At the west entrance is a Lychgate, erected "In
memory of Henry John Hawthorn, 44 years Surgeon of this parish".
The war memorial was designed by R.B. Brookgreaves. The sloping base with 54 names
represents an altar. The symbols of the evangelists were used to suggest the principles for
which the men had sacrificed their lives. On the four crosses are the emblems of England,
Wales, Ireland and Scotland. On the south side are the symbols of passion, and on the
north side are the sacred monogram, the 'pelican'– an old symbol of self sacrifice, and a
triangle – the symbol of trinity.
Just outside the main door of the church is a column, on which is a sundial, placed by
Margaret Gatty in 1862. The column is thought to have originally supported a cross which
was smashed by the Puritans. The motto on the base reads "Watch for ye know not the
To the north of the church, through the trees, are the 13th century Benedictine Priory and
18th century Old Hall.
|Church History - Bells and Churchyard
|The extract above is from the full colour booklet ‘A Guide to St Mary’s Church, Ecclesfield’.
Text by Canon 'Tricia Impey and members of the congregation of St Mary's – Ecclesfield.
The books and booklet listed below can be purchased by visitors to the Church along with a
range of postcards and other selected items.
|A Guide to St Marys
Priced at £2.50
|The Remarkable Gatty
Family of Ecclesfield.
By Joan & Mel Jones
Priced at £4.95
|The Story of a Nomadic
By Mel & Joan Jones
Priced at £3.95
|Click on thumbnails to see large images