This beautiful decorated glass window is located in the East Window of the tiny Church of Saint Giles on the Calke Abbey Estate in South Derbyshire.
It is a great shame that we cannot name the creator but as far as I can tell there is no record of just who he was. What I can tell you is that the window is dedicated as a memorial to Sir George Crew, as he died in 1844 so the window would have been installed ‘sometime’ after. Sir George was responsible for a rebuilding of the Church in 1826. He commissioned the rebuild and redecoration as he felt that the then existing Church had become un-worthy of God.
Standing high and tall on a hill commanding views over the Calke Estate, the exterior is rather austere. Plain windows in decorative wrought Iron frames plus the castellated tops to the walls and tower do add some interest.
Like the majority of English Churches, the site is one of much older Religious significance. Records suggest that there was a place of worship here prior to 1100. The Church and Village of Calke was acquired by a Harold de Leke who donated them to the Calke Priory, the Priory being one of the very first Augustinian Houses in England. It was obviously of some note as in 1129 the Abbot of Cheshire seized the Priory, though he did later have to relinquish it.
The interior of this relatively small Chapel is a touch more welcoming with that decorated glass window adding an extra flourish..
Saint Giles was the Parish Church from 1160 through to 1834. During that time restorations (1570) and rebuilds (1826) occurred, after which it became a Private Family Chapel with many family Memorials to the Harpur-Crewe family owners of the Calke Abbey Estate.
Today, Saint Giles sits in the shadow of the much visited Calke Abbey Estate. Calke Abbey* was bought by Sir Henry Harpur in 1622. It remained in the Harpur and later Harpur- Crewe family until it was passed to the National Trust 1985.
- Calke Abbey is the name of the House and Estate. It was never an Abbey but in the distant past was once a Priory.
(c) David Oakes 2019