Derby Cathedral Pilgrimage in a Day – 1 day, 6 miles. A great saint once lay at the heart of Derby, the murdered prince St Alkmund whose popular cult has left a number of diverting markers around the city to this day. The most substantial of these is the starting point for this pilgrimage, St Alkmund’s Church in Duffield, which marks the spot where the saint’s coffin was rested overnight on the last leg of a procession into the city with his relics. The route heads south to visit another reminder of medieval spirituality, the remains of Darley Abbey, the most substantial of which is an ancient stone building now serving as a pub, aptly named The Abbey. Liquid refreshment of a much simpler sort was once provided by the next stop on this pilgrimage route, St Alkmund’s Well, which is said to have sprung from the ground miraculously when the saint’s relics were rested here before being moved into his final resting place a short walk away. This saintly shrine once attracted pilgrims from near and far, bringing income to greatly extend the magnificent city centre church. Alas the venerable building was knocked down in 1968 to make way for the city’s inner ring road, a plaque beside this busy thoroughfare now announcing somewhat apologetically that the building is no more. Consolation of sorts can be found in the city’s museum, since the demolition of the church did uncover an ancient carved stone tomb, thought to be the saint’s very own shrine, which is kept on display. A final stroll through the city centre concludes at the cathedral itself.
In collaboration with the British Pilgrimage Trust, this route was created by Nick Mayhew-Smith, author of ‘The Naked Hermit‘, and Britain’s Holiest Places.