The Bridge Chapel is situated on the banks of the River Derwent, only a 5 minute walk from the Cathedral, and is one of six medieval bridge chapels left in the UK. At the time it was built, the chapel offered spiritual reassurance to travellers and served as a collection point for tolls for traffic crossing the bridge into Derby.
The Bridge Chapel has regular services of worship, currently on a Saturday morning for 08:30 Morning Prayer and 09:00 Holy Communion.
On 25th July 1588, the most notorious event in the history of the chapel took place when three Roman Catholic priests were hung, drawn and quartered at Derwent Bridge for treason, at the insistence of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth 1.
Two of these priests, Nicholas Garlick and Robert Ludlam, had been found hiding at Padley Manor in north Derbyshire, and were arrested and brought to Derby for trial together with Richard Simpson at the Guildhall in the Market Place.
Collectively they became known as the Padley Martyrs.
The first chapel on the site was probably built late in the 13th century alongside the original stone bridge, which had been completed some years earlier. Late in the 14th century this chapel was replaced by the present building. The principal purpose of the chapel was to serve the needs of travellers who, on leaving the safety of the town and mindful of the uncertain dangers in the countryside beyond, would call there to pray for a safe journey.
Soon after the present chapel was built, a cell was constructed to house an anchoress, a woman who had withdrawn from the world to live a solitary life of silence and prayer.
Between the late 16th century early 20th century, the chapel had many uses from domestic lodgings, a meeting room for Presbyterians, a workshop and storeroom, until sadly in 1912, the chapel closed and was left to deteriorate.
It was restored in 1930 thanks to the efforts of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society and the generosity of the children of the late Sir Alfred Seale Haslam, a former mayor of Derby.
The chapel has been used as a place of worship ever since and now is regarded as the detached Lady Chapel of the Cathedral. The interior is notable for its simplicity; of particular interest are the east window, designed by Mary Dobson, and the altar, designed by Ronald Pope.
A warm welcome awaits you.
18-19 Iron Gate,
Call: 01332 341201
Monday – Saturday
11:00 – 15:00
13:00 – 16:00
Please check the Visit page for up to date information