8 interesting facts you might not know about Derby Cathedral

A view of the majestic iron gate inside Derby Cathedral A view of the majestic iron gate inside Derby Cathedral
A view of the majestic iron gate inside Derby Cathedral | Creative Commons
The beautiful cathedral stands tall in the city’s skyline

Derby Cathedral is very much a jewel in the heart of our city.

With a rich and captivating history that hails back to Medieval Britain, this dominating building stands tall as one of Derby’s top attractions.

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But as with all historic landmarks they often hold many secrets. Here are some fun facts about Derby Cathedral you might not know.

1. Oldest Bell

Derby Cathedral houses the oldest ring of ten bells in the world, dating back to the 17th century.

The tenor bell, named "Queen Elizabeth," weighs over 33 hundredweights (about 1.7 metric tons) and is one of the heaviest bells in the country.

2. Medieval Origins

While the current cathedral dates back to the 16th century, there has been a church on the site since around 943 AD. The first recorded church on the site was a wooden structure.

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Derby CathedralDerby Cathedral
Derby Cathedral | Michael Broomhead

3. Tomb of Bess of Hardwick

The cathedral is the final resting place of Bess of Hardwick, one of the most powerful women of the Elizabethan era.

She was the founder of the Cavendish dynasty and is buried in a lavish tomb in the cathedral.

4. Tower Tours

Visitors can climb the 189 steps to the top of the cathedral tower, which offers panoramic views of Derby and the surrounding countryside. It's a great way to get a bird's eye view of the city.

Derby Cathedral boasts a magnificent aisle and stunning pillars that nod to its rich and varied history Derby Cathedral boasts a magnificent aisle and stunning pillars that nod to its rich and varied history
Derby Cathedral boasts a magnificent aisle and stunning pillars that nod to its rich and varied history | Michael D Beckwith

5. Ceiling Carvings

One of the most striking features inside the cathedral is the intricately carved wooden ceiling.

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It was installed in the 16th century and features beautiful designs including angels, foliage, and coats of arms.

6. Night time Illumination

Derby Cathedral is often illuminated at night, creating a stunning spectacle against the dark sky. The lighting adds to the cathedral's majestic presence and is a popular sight for both locals and visitors.

7. Music and Events

The Cathedral hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, exhibitions, and special services. Its acoustics make it a popular venue for musical performances, attracting both local and international talent.

8. Home of the iron gate

Inside Derby Cathedral, there is a decorative iron gate that separates the nave from the choir area. This gate is a beautiful example of craftsmanship and adds to the cathedral's architectural and historical charm.

It is believed to have been designed by Robert Bakewell, an English blacksmith and ironworker.

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