Netherseal, St Peter
Originally C13th with a C15th tower the church was rebuilt in 1877 by Arthur Blomfield. The nave and aisle walls have been stripped of their plaster, although the chancel walls are plastered.
Most of the fittings are late C19th and include a stone reredos with mosaic wall behind, metal and wooden altar rails, timber choir stalls and organ. On the north side of the chancel is an early C16th arched tomb niche with alabaster slab to Roger Doulton (or Douton) who died in 1500.
Fittingly, the St Francis stained glass window depicts a fine long-eared bat.
A litany desk in the chancel was made by Sir H. Nigel Gresley, the celebrated railway engineer, who designed the Flying Scotsman and Mallard. He is buried in the closed churchyard opposite the church. His father, also Nigel, was rector at St Peter’s and there are two windows dedicated to his memory.
Brown long-eared bats roost in the bell tower and fly around inside the church at dusk before heading out to forage.
Droppings are scattered throughout the nave, transept and vestry, and urine pitting and staining is widespread on all surfaces including pews, brass work and the tiled floor. Plastic covers are needed to provide some protection.
Bat surveys were carried out in 2021 by a registered ecologist who proposed enhancing the tower for the bats while preventing them from accessing the main body of the church. The church hopes to carry out this work in 2022-2023.
Children from Netherseal St Peter's Primary School have visited the church several times to learn all about bats and churches from members of the Bats in Churches team and the Derbyshire Bat Group. As well as hunting for signs of bats inside the church, and playing an invigorating game of bat & moth outside, the children learned about the wonderful world of bats, the problems that may arise when bats make their home inside a church and what the project is doing to help.
In October 2020 the Derbyshire Bat Group put up half a dozen bat boxes on trees in the churchyard, to provide alternative accommodation for the church bats.
In July 2021 the church hosted a bat walk and talk with members of the Derbyshire Bat Group and the registered ecologist.
In June 2022 the church did a roost count with Derbyshire Bat Group for the National Bat Monitoring Programme.