Become a Friend

Visitor information


St John's Road
Matlock Dale


Contact the office for access details: email us / call us: +44 (0)204 520 4458 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)

OS grid reference



The church is located in Matlock Dale, between Matlock and Matlock Bath.

Caution: Can visitors please keep children and dogs away from the edge of the churchyard where there is a long drop to the road. Thank you.

This remarkable private chapel was built by the redoubtable Mrs Louisa Harris.

Her architect, Guy Dawber, assembled a glittering array of artists to realise her dream.

About St John the Baptist's, Matlock Dale

This remarkable private chapel was built by Matlock Dale resident Louisa Harris just over a hundred years ago. Built into a cliff face overlooking the Derwent Valley, a World Heritage Site, the church is also built over a well, which can be picked out on the roadside. A picturesque path wound from Louisa’s grand residence to the door of the chapel.

Mrs Harris appointed architect Sir Guy Dawber — one of the founders of the CPRE and a President of RIBA (1925–7) — to design this personal chapel. Dawber, in turn, chose a glittering array of craftsmen to turn his design into a reality:

The barrel vault ceiling and decoration is the work of George Bankart, who specialised in ornamental plasterwork. Brambles and red berries wind over the wall-plate. Vines and roses unfurl across the ceiling and tiny birds flit along the ceiling.

Louis Davis, ‘the last of the Pre-Raphaelites’, created the east window around the theme of water. This was just Davis’s second solo commission after leaving the studio of premier Arts & Crafts glass artist, Christopher Whall.

Cecil Fabian carved statues to fill niches around the altar. Sadly, these were destroyed by vandals in the 1990s. The other woodwork – the pews and stalls – is simple and elegant. It’s likely to be the work of local house painter and joiner John Cooke of Wirksworth.

Right at the back of the chapel is a small brass plaque dedicated to Vida, the beloved dog of the chapel’s founder.

Louis Davis stained glass Matlock Dale
St John the Baptist's Matlock Bath


  • Unique organic setting, nestled amongst trees and shrubs in an ivy-draped cliff face
  • Ornamental plasterwork by master plastererer George Bankart, featuring plants and birds
  • Stained glass East Window by Louis Davis — ‘the last of the pre-Raphaelites’; the four panels depict the sacrament of baptism, “the waters of Death”, communion, and the Water of Life
  • Elegant and exemplary Arts and Crafts woodwork with painted and gilded panelling
  • Plaque to Vida, the pet dog of the chapel’s founder Louisa Harris

Further information

The buttons below link to church or local information on other websites.

Newsletter sign up

Keep up to date with our latest news and learn more about the churches in our care by signing up for our email newsletter.