You can find out more of the church at:

Interesting fact: the church yard is mowed each week or so by the inhabitant of The Old Rectory next door. He happens to be the founder of DASH (Derbyshire Atheists, Secularists and Humanists) but, even as a life-long atheist, he is happy to help look after a small part of our shared heritage.

This is not unique - we know of a number of other local parishes where non-believers help out with maintaining the church and its grounds.

Church and chapel - a sign of quiet rural rebellion

The church saw its duty as "the saver of souls" but, like all businesses, its main business was to stay in business. This meant money (tithes), land, buildings and the symbols of control and power.

The style and size of churches in a rural area was a function of the wealth in that area - money from landowners (derived from rents) and from tithes was converted into bricks and mortar as well as maintaining a vicar or rector and making a contribution to the central church hierarchy.

The rural working class, tenant farmers and farm labourers, often saw the church as represented those in power over them in their day-to-day lives. The church was quite happy to go along with this ("The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, god made them high and lowly, and ordered their estate"), and often the Rector was the second or third son of the local landowning family. (The first would be the heir, the second would join the military and the third would live off the tithes from the workers on the land.)

The 19th century saw a rapid rise in the non-conformist movement, those who felt their connection with their god should not depend on their relationship with their masters.

Looking at the area around Trusley it is fascinating to see where non-conformist chapels sprang up - often in the corner of a field between one CofE church and another. Those who worked the land were determined not to spend their Sundays in the company of those who controlled their lives.

The blue circles on the map represent CofE churches while the red circles represent non-conformist chapels - most of which have now been converted into homes.

One of the most interesting is the primitive methodist chapel on the corner of Back Lane and Commonpiece Lane. This is a tiny chapel built on a tiny piece of land in the corner of a field - land which was grudgingly sold to the Methodist church by the local land owner. The chapel, a listed building, was in use until 2010 but has now been sold - ironically to those who now own the land on which it sits.

Click the map for a larger image
Sutton On The Hill primitive methodist chapel