For this church:
In 1876, Joseph Paget built a chapel dedicated to St Chad, the first Bishop of Lichfield (Mercia). Joseph’s father and stepmother had drowned in 1873 leaving him the bulk of their estate that subsequently made him the senior partner in the William Hollins Company in Pleasley Vale. He also acquired his father’s 400-acre Ruddington Grange Estate, which he sold sometime after 1882.
Joseph Paget had become very wealthy, and decided that his household and the increasing population of mill workers in Pleasley Vale would benefit by having their own church built in the hamlet. He built it in a lofty position, overlooking the Vale, on the Stuffynwood Estate, Derbyshire side of the river so that visitors could see it directly opposite as they approached on the Northfield road (now a private road running alongside the modern St Chad’s opposite the bridge).
It was built of timber, painted white, modest in size but elegant and of handsome design built by Cox & Sons of London. The church was lit by gaslight, connected from the adjoining lodge. It is recorded that Mr Linney of Mansfield donated ‘a powerful harmonium of excellent tone’. The formal opening on 10 November 1876 was conducted by the Bishop of Lichfield in the presence of a large congregation of local clergy, including the newly appointed vicar of Shirebook, Dr Quilter of Oxford, who was to conduct an evening and morning service every Sunday.
In 1880, plans were being made for the wedding of Paget’s daughter, Elsie, to Hubert Hodson. However, it is said that the Revd Dr Quilter expressed open dissatisfaction to this union and that in response Joseph instructed that the church was to be taken down and rebuilt on the other side of the river – out of Derbyshire and the Diocese of Lichfield and in Nottinghamshire, which was then in the Diocese of Lincoln.
The church was rebuilt just over the river boundary, across the bridge, alongside the Northfield road from Mansfield Woodhouse. Joseph Paget decided to make it more ‘churchly’ than before by building around the timbers with brick and stone, adding a bell tower and replacing the harmonium with a pipe organ built by Lloyd & Co of Nottingham. The interior woodwork remained the same as before, a highly polished contrast of pitchpine and mahogany.
The first service at the relocated St Chad’s was held on 14 October 1881. The new vicar of the church, Revd Kirby, had living accommodation provided by Joseph Paget. After Paget’s death in 1896, his will provided a trust to ensure a continued income for the vicar and provision for the upkeep of the church.