Repton is a large village cum small town, lying on the south bank of the river Trent, some 8 miles from Derby. Repton is known and sign posted as the capital of Mercia.
St Wystans Church contains a unique Saxon crypt which is one of the most important surviving pieces of Saxon architecture in England.
Repton church was the burial place of Mercian Kings. It dates from around 750 AD and contains the tombs of King Ethelbald of Mercia(ad757), King Wiglaf in AD840 and his grandson St Wystan who was brutally murdered. The crypt became a place of pilgramage.
A monastery had been founded following the arrival of Christianity in Mercia around AD653. It was sacked by the Danes, lay in ruins for 200 years and never rebuilt, but the crypt survived and a church was built on the old site. Its 212 ft spire is a land mark for miles around.
A priory was founded in Repton about 1172 but was dissolved at the Reformation. On the site of the prioy ruins, Repton School was established under the will of Sir John Port of Etwall in 1557.The priory arch and the west wing of the cloister court now form the entrance to the school.
Under the headship of Dr Pears in 1854-74, Repton school grew in fame and reputation as well as physically.
There are many fine old buildings in the town, some connected with the school. The restored, market cross in the town centre was said to have been where Christianity was first preached in the Midlands. Until the end of the 19th century regular markets took place in the area between the cross and the priory arch.