The Church of ST. PETER consists of a chancel (24 ft. by 15 ft.), nave (43 ft. by 16½ ft.), north chapel (11½ ft. by 12 ft.), north aisle (39½ ft. by 10½ ft.), south aisle (9 ft. wide), and west tower (7¼ ft. by 7¼ ft. The walls are of rubble with stone dressings, those of the chancel patched with brickwork, and the roofs are covered with lead.
Of the church mentioned in the Domesday Survey (1086), which was probably of timber, nothing remains, but about the year 1100 a stone church consisting of a chancel and an aisle-less nave was built, of which the chancel arch and part of the north wall of the nave remain. Some fifty years later the chancel was rebuilt and widened and an arcade cut into the nave wall and a north aisle built. The following century saw the building of the south aisle and west tower, and, apparently in connection with this work, the western arch of the north arcade was rebuilt. The south arcade, however, was rebuilt in the 15th century, and the clearstory built. The chancel walls were raised and a new roof constructed in 1642. The north aisle was rebuilt in 1884–5, and the west tower in 1890, and other works done in 1912 and 1921.
The chancel, c. 1150, has a modern east window with internal splays of the 15th century. The north wall has an original window, a blocked square-headed two-light window, a blocked door perhaps opening into a former vestry, a blocked squint, and a large blocked locker. The south wall has an original window, two 15th-century two-light windows, one with a square head and one with a four-centred arch and a transom forming a low-side window, and a 15th-century piscina. The arch, of c. 1100, has two plain orders resting on simple imposts; it is much depressed, and under it is a 15th-century oak screen. (fn. 62) The roof, dated 1642, is of low pitch. There is an ancient gable cross, but the parapets have been rebuilt partly with brick, and have lost the fillings of their merlons.
The nave has a north arcade of three bays, the two eastern arches are semi-circular, of c. 1150, and supported on two circular columns with scalloped caps, the western arch with its respond was rebuilt in the 13th century. Above the two earlier arches are the remains of two blocked windows of c. 1100. The south arcade, also of three bays, is of the 15th century, with pointed arches and octagonal columns. The 15th-century clearstory has three two-light windows on each side. The roof is of 15th-century date, with sunk traceried panels in the braces.
The north aisle and north chapel were rebuilt in 1884–5, but incorporate a three-light window in the east wall and two others in the north wall, all of the 15th century, and a plain 14th-century north door, and the west wall has a 13th-century single-light window. In the wall between the chapel and the chancel is a recess with a blocked squint; westward of it is a modern opening for access to the pulpit. In the east wall is a reset 14th-century piscina. A simple 15th-century screen, much modernised, separates the chapel from the aisle.
The 13th-century south aisle has a 15th-century three-light window in the east wall, and the south wall has two similar windows, a 14th-century doorway and a 14th-century piscina. (fn. 63) The west wall has a 13th-century three-light with modernised head. There is a little 15th-century glass in the heads of the east and south-east windows.
The roofs of both aisles are of the 15th century, but much restored.
The west tower was rebuilt in 1890, but the towerarch is of 13th-century date, and the belfry windows are of two lights of the same period. Parts of the parapets and pinnacles are of the 15th century. An early 14th-century niche has been rebuilt into the west wall, also a corbel of a woman’s head in wimple, and a kneeling figure, both of the 13th century.
The font is a plain square bowl possibly of c. 1150, on a modern stem and base; it has a 17th-century pyramidal oak cover. There are three bells, inscribed: 1, John Gregory: Thomas: Charter: Churchward: 1709. 2, A penetente harte is goode. 3, Non Sono animabvs mortvorvm sed avribvs viventivm. 1615. (On second line) Henry Crvmwell, Armiger. The second by Newcome and the third by Norris. In 1552 it was stated that the middle bell had been sold for £7. (fn. 64)
There are the following monuments: In the chancel, to Peter Pheasant, Justice of the King’s Bench, d. 1649, and Mary (de Bruges) his wife; Mary Warner, widow, d. 1771; Sir Richard Bickerton, bart., d. 1792, and Dame Maria Anne, his widow, d. 1811; Maria Bickerton, Lady of the Manor, d. 1845, and Jane Frances Bickerton, d. 1827; and a floor slab to the Hon. Charles Montagu, youngest son of Viscount Hinchingbrooke, d. 1780; in the south aisle to Richard Ross, d. 1730; matrices of brasses of a demi-figure of a priest with inscription plate, and a figure of a woman with inscription plate and four scrolls, both 15th century; floor slabs to Reginald Michell, d. 1706, and the Rev. Robert Michell, d. 1707.
The registers are as follows: (i) Baptisms, marriages and burials, 10 Jan. 1588, to 24 Jan. 1701; (ii) ditto, 31 March 1700, to 28 Dec. 1780, marriages end 14 Oct. 1755; (iii) baptisms and burials, 11 April 1780 to 17 Nov. 1812; (iv) the official marriage book, 7 Oct. 1754 to 12 Nov. 1812; the usual modern books.
¶The church plate consists of: A silver cup and silver cover paten, hall-marked for 1613–14; a silvergilt dish ornamented with trees and animals in repoussé, and with a centre plate engraved with an Annunciation partly enamelled, Spanish early 15th century; a pewter flagon.
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