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Thursday, 09 December 2021 13:07

Saints of Derbyshire book now available

Revd Simon Taylor (l) and Jo Simister with the Very Reverend Dr Peter Robinson, Dean of Derby, at the launch of Saints of Derbyshire Revd Simon Taylor (l) and Jo Simister with the Very Reverend Dr Peter Robinson, Dean of Derby, at the launch of Saints of Derbyshire

Saints of Derbyshire, the book by Revd Simon Taylor and Josephine Simister, is now available to buy.

The illustrated book tells the stories of more than 50 saints associated with Derbyshire and is published by Derby Cathedral, which will also receive all profits from the sale of the book.

At the launch of the book, Simon, formerly area dean of Derby City Deanery, revealed that the idea for the book came during a family trip to Repton.

He said: "We were looking around the parish church there and there are loads of saints associated with Repton, with this magnificent crypt for St Wystan and nowhere could I find enough information about the saints.

"And after that I just started collecting the stories, not just for Repton but for the whole of the county.

"It tells the stories of the saints. I remember some years ago reading a dictionary of saints that said 'the stories of this saint are legendary' and feeling that wasn't very helpful, I wanted to know what the stories were, however legendary and far-fetched because, they're fun and I wanted to know what made the story come alive. 

"So we've kept in the monsters and the far-fetched and the supernatural because that's the funa and the joy of these stories.

"It's also a book that we hope people will take out into Derbyshire and go and visit some places and find the saints associated with places.

"And, yes, there are prayers and it is a book that, through the lives of the saints, will connect folk to God - the god that the saints in their very different ways were all trying to find."

The book is also laden with beautiful lino-print illustrations, lovingly created by Jo Simister, deanery administrator for Derby City Deanery.

Jo said: "I think the most lovely thing about this project was that it got me back in touch with my art teaching roots from 40 years ago.

"Just doing the refresher workshop to produce the Repton crypt print was such a joy that I really couldn't resist thinking that maybe I could do one lino print for each of the chapters - not realsiing that there would be 20 chapters!

jo simister in front of her illustrations exhibition

"I loved doing the research for the different subjects, so for example when it came to doing the design for the hermit who lived in Deepdale and Cratcliffe, I decided to see what the local museums had in the way of cooking pots from that era and I also had a Tudor herbal at home and I scanned some of the photos from that - simple, primitive pictures of daisies and clover that I used in the design.

"And then there were others that were really quite obvious."

Among the church artefacts that are included are the Wirksworth Stone (the lid of a stone vault found buried in Wirksworth Church in 1820), which was used for one of the chapters, and the Saxon font at Ilam, used for the story about Bertrand and the monsters eating his wife!

An exhibition of Jo's lino prints is in Derby Cathedral (until 20 December 2021) and the book, priced £12.50 (plus 4.50 p&p if required) can be ordered by emailing office@derbycathedral.org

Last modified on Friday, 21 January 2022 11:20