Mackworth church fire: Grade I listed chapel 'destroyed'

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media captionGrade I listed church 'destroyed' in blaze

A centuries-old village church has been ravaged by a huge fire.

Pictures of the blaze at All Saints' Church in Mackworth, Derbyshire, show significant damage to the roof of the Grade I listed building.

Church warden Prof Bryan Jones said he felt "absolutely numb... watching 1,000 years of history go up in flames".

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the blaze was unclear but the possibility of an arson attack was being investigated.

Clive Stanbrook, from the service, said the roof had collapsed and there was "extensive" damage to the interior.

image copyrightDFRS
image captionThe fire appears to have destroyed parts of the roof

Six crews were sent to Lower Road just after 16:30 GMT and remain at the scene, he said.

"We're doing all we can to try and save the external shell of the church," he said. "It is tragic for the area."

Mr Stanbrook said it was too early to establish the cause, but a number of suspected arsons at schools and fires at churches over the past few months meant a thorough investigation had been launched.

'Gutted'

Vicar Jacqueline Stober said: "I'm absolutely devastated. It's a terrible thing that has happened.

"It's an absolutely beautiful church. This year we were planning on celebrating its 700th anniversary but we had to delay that because of Covid.

"I can guarantee that worship has happened here for a thousand years and there will be, in some form or other, worship here for the next one thousand years."

Local auctioneer Charles Hanson said he was "gutted" at learning of the blaze.

He tweeted: "I married here, loved ones are buried here. It has witnessed so much, survived so much, until this.

"I hope [it was] not a cruel act of arson."

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