St Oswald's Church, Ashbourne, is one of the grandest churches in Derbyshire. The most noticable feature is its very tall spire - 212 feet (65 metres) - which dominates the area even though the church lies in the bottom of the valley.
There was certainly a church here in Saxon times and the current church has a Norman crypt, but the present building was constructed in the 13th and early 14th centuries and is the finest local example of the Early English style. The Chancel was complete by 1241 and the Nave and transepts were added in the later part of the century, with the tower added in the early 14th century. Various other small additions were made over the ages and the church was restored by Gilbert Scott in 1837-40.
Notable features are the fine East window of the Chancel and the slight curve of the Nave (probably not an intended feature), a small 13th century window in the North Transept, and the Boothby Chapel, also in the North Transept, which houses the finest local collection of tombs and alabaster or marble monuments.
The tomb of Penelope Boothby
These include the tombs of the Cokayne family and their successors, the Boothbys, plus those of the Bradbourne family, and they stretch from that of John Cokayne (died 1372) to Lady Boothby in 1838. The most famous is that of young Penelope Boothby, who died in 1791 at the age of five. The monument was Thomas Bank's most famous work and is carved in Carrera marble - it carries the inscription: ''She was in form and intellect most exquisite. The unfortunate Parents ventured their all on the frail Bark. And the wreck was total."