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Thursday, 23rd November 2017

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History of the building

 

St Peter's Church dates back to about 1150. As you enter through the south porch, look above your head and you will see a wonderful Norman carving called a Tympanum. Jesus is seated on his throne, presenting the keys of the church to St Peter and a book to St Paul. The sixteen clasping beak-heads and capitals show the influence of the Vikings and the beautiful almond-shaped eyes show the inspiration of the Saxons. As you walk through the exquisite ancient oak door, you will see the tall, cylindrical Romanesque 12th century font decorated with a herringbone band, an acanthus scroll and interlaced cubes and hands. The third Norman feature is the chancel arch with all its fine stonework and chevron moldings. The chancel was restored in the early English style in the 19th century. The triple-lancet window at the east end, and the encaustic tiles on the floor and the dado are of the same period.

 

The perpendicular north aisle is known as the Langley Chapel because it was built by Edmund Langley in about 1470. The roof has molded beams and eighteen angels bearing shields with the Langley arms. This chapel was a little marred in the eighteenth century by the removal of the stained glass from the east window to be used as the central feature of the great east window in Cirencester Parish church, and also by the placing of the organ in front of it.

 

The tower and the broach-spire above the porch were added in 1864. The tower contains six bells. On the outside, the whole of the north aisle has an embattled parapet, and according to Rudder (1779), there used to be an unfinished tower at the west end. The chancel, north aisle and nave roofs have been restored very recently.

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