In 1922 a scheme was launched for a tower and a peal of bells, it being estimated that the work could be completed for £3,000. There was a generous response at the beginning, but instead of process falling as was originally hoped they rose considerably, and £4,000 was soon the target. The provision of a tower had been contemplated in the original plans of the church 30 years previously, but financial constraints at that time compelled its abandonment. Since then attempts had been made at intervals to revive interest in the project. A ballot of parishioners overwhelmingly in favour had stirred the fundraisers in their task. One of the successful fundraising efforts was a Daffodil Bazaar, opened by Her Grace the Duchess of Portland who bought, and sold, daffodils from Welbeck. There were a number of side shows and a concert in the evening to complete a hardworking but nevertheless enjoyable day.
The dedication in 1927, by the Lord Bishop of Southwell, of the tower and its 8 bells, at a final cost of £5,000, witnessed the realisation of a long cherished hope by the parishioners. Messrs. John Taylor and Co. the world famous Loughborough firm of bell founders supplied the bells. Details of the bells are to be found on a plaque inside the church.
A rare opportunity to witness an ordination occurred in 1933 when the Lord Bishop of Derby ordained George Busby, the parish curate.
At the eastern end of the north aisle is the chapel of St Michael and All Angels, a memorial to all those who fell in the Second World War, dedicated by the Bishop of Derby in May 1948. An oak case contains the Roll of Honour, a handsomely bound velum book containing the names of all the Creswell men and women who served in the forces during the war. The names of the fallen are inscribed on the reredos of the altar. The Chapel also holds the carved oak memorial commemorating those that served and fell in the First World War (1914-1918). The Royal British Legion flags of the Men’s Section and Women’s Section hang here.
Since 1984 St Michael’s Chapel has also housed an Aumbrey in the north wall. This contains the reserve Sacrament so that Holy Communion may be taken to the sick and housebound.
The oak pulpit is part of the original furnishings of the church. The carved oak lectern, presented by the Mothers’ Union as a thank-offering in 1945, replaces the original iron and brass lectern which was no longer in keeping with the rest of the oak furnishings of the chancel and sanctuary.
The High Altar was designed and erected in 1914, and the oak reredos and panelling were added in 1929. The Derbyshire craftsmen Messrs Hunstone Bros. of Tideswell executed the reredos (they also crafted the oak carvings in the Chapel of St Michael and All Angels) which portrays, beneath a central canopy, the crowned figure of Christ on the Cross with the Blessed Virgin Mary and St John. Flanking these central figures are St Mary Magdalene, patron saint of Creswell, and St Peter, representing the mother church at Elmton.
The unusual circular window above the altar, representing 2 hearts entwined, was filled with stained glass in 1934. The window was designed by the Principal of the Edinburgh School of Art and depicts the Risen Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene in the garden. In the top centre light is the Holy Dove, and above each head, angels hold crowns of glory. In the lower centre panel is a scroll bearing the word “Rabboni”. The whole window is filled with a design of the vine, and in the early morning sunshine it scintillates like some rich jewel.
The South Aisle has a votive candle stand and a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This area of the church is much used for private prayer and people frequently light candles to ask for God’s help in their lives, healing for the sick and rest for the departed. Above the votive stand is a stained glass window in memory of John William Eadson, a long serving church warden and treasurer. At its western end is the Baptistry forming a beautiful children’s corner with its oak panelled walls and screen. An attractive picture in this corner was presented by the children of Lowestoft, and records the sanctuary afforded to them in Creswell when they were evacuated from their homes on the coast during the 1939 – 1945 war.
The communion plate of the church includes two handsome chalices presented by the 6th Duke and Duchess of Portland. Over the years St Mary Magdalene’s has received many gifts, often in memory of family and friends. In 1996 a portable nave altar was given for use at the Family Eucharist. Children attending the service can see all the symbols, signs and gestures that are part of Holy Communion. In 1997 a set of Stations of the Cross was presented. These are used for the Way of the Cross devotions during Lent and Holy Week. These gifts in particular remind us that the church is a place for prayer, listening to the Word of God, and the receiving of the sacraments.