Clay Cross is predominantly an industrial town it is set on the A61 six miles south of Chesterfield, occupying a commanding position on a high ridge between the valleys of the rivers Amber and Rother.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century Clay Cross was mainly a rural area, but George Stephenson the railway pioneer changed that.
Whilst driving a tunnel under Clay Cross hill for his main line from Derby to Leeds, he dicovered a rich seam of coal and iron deposits and exploited these finds, forming the Clay Cross Company in 1837. George Stephenson and Company built houses for the tunnel navvies and later, as they sank colliery workings, for the miners and their families. Some 400 houses were built, and by 1846 the population of the area had reached 1,478; an ironworks with steam engines for blowing, pumping and hauling kept some 600 men employed.
As the company prospered so did the town grow, listing by 1857 some 2,278 inhabitants.Schools were provided by the Company, also shops, chapels, a church and a Mechanics Institute. George Stephenson died at Tapton House Chesterfield in 1848.
Parkhouse Colliery was the scene of a disaster in 1882 when 34 lives were lost,and in the local cemetery a memorial was erected to the victims of that tragic disaster.
The mines have long since closed, to be replaced by engineering and iron works. The town, with its busy shops and Saturday market, has new social and educational centres, library, sports amenitites, including a swimming pool and sports complex with both indoor and outdoor facilities at Sharley Park.
St Bartholomew's Church was built in 1851 with a 70ft high Broach spire added in 1857. Repairs had to be carried out in 1986 and carpets were fitted, and in 1993/4 the roof was completely renewed. In 1995 a new organ was installed in the north east corner of the church.