top of page

History of All Saints', Aston on Trent

Timeline of Important Dates

653 AD         Christianity comes to the Trent Valley. Four priests came south from          
                     Lindisfarne to nearby Repton for the marriage of Elfleda, daughter
                     of the King of Northumbria, to King Paeda of Mercia who, as a  
                     condition of the marriage, converted to Christianity.
653 - 700      Christian missionaries came to Aston on Trent from Repton.
                     A fragment from a Celtic preaching cross exists in the west wall
                     of the church suggesting that a Saxon church or preaching cross
                     stood on this site prior to the Norman Conquest.
1009             A Royal Charter of King Aethelred gives the manor of Weston, which
                     includes Aston, Shardlow and Great Wilne, to Morcar. The parish
                     boundaries are established.
1066 -           Subsequent to the Norman Conquest, King William gave his nephew     
                     Hugh d’Avranches command of Tutbury Castle, but in 1071 Hugh
                     was elevated to become Earl of Chester. During his lifetime he
                     conferred part of the manor of Weston and lands in Aston, Shardlow
                     and Great Wilne upon the monks of the Abbey of St. Werburgh at
                     Chester. The advowson of the rectory of Aston was also given to the
1101             Death of Hugh Earl of Chester. As the main founder and benefactor,
                     he was buried in the Abbey of St.Werburgh, which in later years
                     became Chester Cathedral.
1100             All Saints’ gained its tower, the lower part of which could be of
   to               Saxon origin but up to the clock face it is of typical Norman
1150             architectural design. Entry to the church would have been through
                     a door on the west side of the tower and beneath the Norman
                     nave/tower arch, on its south side, can be seen a dedication cross. 
1150             This Early English architectural period saw the removal of much of
   to               the Norman influence including the nave pillars and arches. The font
1270             is unusual in design and is of the transformation period between
                     Norman and Early English.
1257             Under the reign of Henry lll (1207-72) the monks of the Abbey of
                     St. Werburgh were granted a weekly market and a three day fair at
1291             The Taxation Roll of this year gives the annual value of the Aston
                     Rectory as £33.6s 8d (£33.33) – a very large sum for that time.
1300             The church was enlarged by addition of the south aisle, the windows
    to              being of the Decorated style. The north aisle was also constructed
1400             towards the end of this period, but to a different architectural style
                     – this being Perpendicular. Both aisles would have been dedicated
                     as Lady Chapels, probably to The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Katherine.
                     The nave roof was also raised to accommodate a clerestory allowing
                     more light into the body of the church and the line of the
                     original gabled roof over the chancel and nave arches can still be
                     seen. The chancel windows are of the transitional period of
                     Decorated to Perpendicular – i.e. late 14th century.
1400             Chancel roof raised and a clerestory formed on its north side and                    
  to                the Perpendicular east window installed.
1500             During this period the tower was increased in height to accommodate
                     a belfry and buttresses added to spread the additional weight.
1500             This was a turbulent century in the history of the church. It was
  to                dominated by the English Reformation, which Henry VIII
1600             countenanced for both political and personal reasons. This saw
                     The Church of England break away from the authority of the Pope
                     and the Roman Catholic Church.                   
                     The Dissolution of Monasteries took place between the years
                     1536 to 1541 and it was during this period that the Abbey of
                     St. Werburgh of Chester lost control of its Aston and other        
                     Derbyshire possessions.
                     Under Henry VIII, who died in 1547, and his son Edward VI, (died
                     1553), and Mary I, who restored the Roman Catholic faith, (died   
                     1558), and finally Elizabeth I, who once again severed connection
                     with the Roman Catholic church, there were many changes to the
                     form of worship.
                     Church services were now conducted in English and pews
                     introduced in the expectation that people would sit and listen to
                     the proceedings.
                     Some of Aston’s pews are undoubtedly of Tudor origin.
                     In a church inventory of 1552 there is listed a set of handbells, a
                     sanctuary bell and bells in the "steeple." The latter were probably
                     replaced, as the earliest bells still in existence were cast by Henry
                     Oldfield in 1590 and 1594.
1600             Upon the death of Elizabeth in 1603 England and Scotland became
  to                united under her successor King James I of the house of Stuart.
1700             Religious affairs remained in a state of turmoil.
                     In 1611 the King James Version of the Bible was published with
                     considerable impact upon the English church. It is still in wide use
                     in the 21st century.
                     Puritanism had its roots in Tudor times and gained momentum
                     during the reign of James I.
                     James I died in 1625 to be followed by his son Charles I.
                     Charles I executed in 1649 when control of government fell to
                     Oliver Cromwell who ruled as Lord Protector over the
                     Commonwealth of England until his death in 1658.
                     During this Puritan period many of the statues, medieval stained
                     glass and the rood screen and loft would have been removed from
                     All Saints’.
                     Cromwell died in 1658 and two years later The Restoration
                     of the monarchy took place with the return of Charles II to the
1630             John Hunt, once owner of the original Aston Hall, donated the altar
                     table, which is still carved with his name.
1644             The Rector, Richard Clarke, a Royalist sympathiser, removes
                     himself and family from Aston Rectory owing to continued
                     harassment and pillaging by Parliamentarians. His living was
                     sequestered to Thomas Palmer.
1646             Richard Clarke and family move back into Aston Rectory.
                     The Committee for Plundered Ministers ordered Richard Clarke
                     to quit the Rectory but allowed his wife and family to remain. 
1648             Robert Holden becomes the largest land owner in Aston after the
                     break-up of the Manor of Weston. He also gains the advowson,
                     that is the right to present a nominee to occupy a vacant
                     ecclesiastical benefice.
1660             Under the terms of the Restoration Settlement Richard Clarke is
                     re-instated to the benefice of Aston.
1726             The Rectory is built next to the Church. Later additions during
                     Victorian times but Demolition takes place in 1969.
1788             A musicians gallery was erected at the west end of the nave.
                     Funding for this was provided by the proprietors of the Trent
                     and Mersey Canal Company. The music accompanied the singing
                     of psalms and canticles as the singing of hymns did not become
                     widely popular until the middle to late 19th century.
1837             The parish of Aston is divided. Until this time villagers from
                     Shardlow and Great Wilne had worshipped at All Saints’, Aston.
                     From the opening of the Trent and Mersey canal in 1777 these
                     villagers had the option of travelling to church by canal narrow
1869             The Reverend James Shuttleworth Holden becomes Rector of the
                      benefice of Aston.
1873              All Saints’ was judiciously restored by the squire of Aston,
                      Edward Anthony Holden.
                      As an organ was now available, the musicians gallery was
                      removed. The Tickhill tomb was taken from its location between
                      the chancel north arches and re-sited in the north aisle.
                      The finely carved oak choir stalls are of this period and are the
                      work of Aston village carpenter George Halliday.
                      Some pews were replaced but the Tudor examples were retained.
                      The reredos and pulpit of Caen stone were also installed as part of
                      the 1873 restoration.
                      Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries All Saints’ gained an
                      impressive number of stained glass windows.
1877              The benefactor of the church restoration of 1873, Edward Anthony
                      Holden, dies at the age of 72 and subsequently the outstanding
                      east window is installed to his memory.
1890              Parishoners donated the tower clock as a tribute to Edward
                      Anthony Holden.
1916              Death of the Reverend James Shuttleworth Holden. He had been
                      Rector for 47 years. The lych gate was erected to his memory -
                      also a stained glass window in the south aisle. He was the last
                      member of the Holden family to have lived in Aston.
1969              Georgian/Victorian Rectory demolished and a new Rectory built
                      on the former site. The Rectory gardens sold for housing
                      development and the former coach house and stables
                      converted into private dwellings.
1970              A new vestry building was erected in the churchyard.
1980s            The tower glazed screen installed to form a room for young
                      children to play during services.
1993              Launch of the Aston Heritage Appeal to raise funds for
                      restoration of the church roof. £100,000 was the target.
1998              Service of Thanskgiving for the restoration of the church roof. 
2011              The churchyard vestry re-built and extended to become
                      The All Saints’ Heritage Centre.

bottom of page