St Wystans Church contains a unique Saxon crypt which is one of the most important surviving pieces of Saxon architecture in England.
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.
Repton was the original seat of Christianity in the English Midlands, though in 669 the Bishop of Mercia moved his See from Repton to Lichfield. Offa, King of Mercia seemed to resent his own bishops paying allegiance to the Archbishop of Canterbury in Kent who, whilst under Offa's control, was not of his own kingdom of Mercia. Offa therefore created his own archbishopric in Lichfield, which presided over all the bishops from the Humber to the Thames. Repton thus became an origin for a third split in the English Church: Canterbury, York and Lichfield. This lasted for only 16 years however, before Mercia returned to being under the Archbishopric of Canterbury.
Remains of a priory founded in 1172 have been incorporated into the buildings of Repton School, a public school established in 1557.
A 19th century engraving of the crypt at Repton where Æthelbald was interred.
Æthelbald King of Mercia was interred here in 797 AD. Beornrad of Mercia was buried here Saint Guthlac of Croyland was a monk here in c 697 AD King Wiglaf of Mercia was buried here King Wigstan of Mercia was reburied here