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Remains of St Peter's Church, 460m south of Church Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Alresford, Essex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.8464 / 51°50'46"N

Longitude: 0.9964 / 0°59'46"E

OS Eastings: 606484.602908

OS Northings: 220665.168443

OS Grid: TM064206

Mapcode National: GBR SNW.6PZ

Mapcode Global: VHKG7.7V2F

Entry Name: Remains of St Peter's Church, 460m south of Church Farm

Scheduled Date: 25 June 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019881

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32440

County: Essex

Civil Parish: Alresford

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Alresford St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

Details

The monument includes the standing and buried remains of the parish church of
St Peter and part of its surrounding churchyard. The remains of the church are
a Listed Building Grade II. It is situated in a now isolated position to the
south of the present village of Alresford on the eastern bank of the Colne
estuary, overlooking Alresford creek.

St Peter's was originally a simple two celled church comprising a nave and a
chancel, or apse, characteristic of construction in the 12th century. Parts
of this early church survive, evident in the use of coursed Kentish ragstone,
flint rubble and reused Roman brick and tile in the western and northern walls
of the nave. The church was enlarged in the 13th century with the elongation
of the nave and the addition of a larger chancel. Most of the work of this
period was subsequently demolished, however, and evidence of it now survives
only in the north walls of the nave and chancel. An inscription (no longer in
the church) to a benefactor, Anfrid de Staunton, recorded that the church was
rebuilt in the early 14th century, and this is clearly evident in the standing
fabric. The nave and chancel were further enlarged and buttressed. Both were
provided with new windows, and new doorways were built into the north and
south walls of the chancel. The church remained substantially unaltered from
this period until the 19th century, and the 14th century fabric and
architecture still dominates the structure.

The Victorian period saw another major rebuild, adding a south aisle (reusing
masonry taken from the demolition of the 14th century south nave wall) and a
porch on the northern wall. The recessed west window also dates from this
period, as do the north and south chancel doors (inserted in the 14th century
openings), the altar and surviving internal tile flooring.

The church has been a ruin since a fire in 1971 caused the collapse of the
roof and belfry and the removal of much of the internal plaster.

The scheduling includes the core of the medieval graveyard nearest the church,
but excludes most of the associated cemetery to the south and west which
remains in use as a place of burial and remembrance.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

A parish church is a building, usually of roughly rectangular outline and
containing a range of furnishings and fittings appropriate to its use for
Christian worship by a secular community, whose members gather in it on
Sundays and on the occasion of religious festivals. Children are initiated
into the Christian religion at the church's font and the dead are buried in
its churchyard. Parish churches were designed for congregational worship and
are generally divided into two main parts: the nave, which provides
accommodation for the laity, and the chancel, which is the main domain of the
priest and contains the principal altar. Either or both parts are sometimes
provided with aisles, giving additional accommodation or spaces for additional
altars. Most parish churches also possess towers, generally at the west
end, but central towers at the crossing of nave and chancel are not uncommon
and some churches have a free-standing or irregularly sited tower. Many parish
churches also possess transepts at the crossing of chancel and nave, and south
or north porches are also common. The main periods of parish church foundation
were in the 10th to 11th and 19th centuries. Most medieval churches were
rebuilt and modified on a number of occasions and hence the visible fabric of
the church will be of several different dates, with in some cases little
fabric of the first church being still easily visible.
Parish churches are found throughout England. Their distribution reflects the
density of population at the time they were founded. In regions of dispersed
settlement parishes were often large and churches less numerous. The densest
clusters of parish churches were found in thriving medieval towns. A survey of
1625 reported the existence of nearly 9000 parish churches in England. New
churches built in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries increased numbers to
around 18,000 of which 17,000 remain in ecclesiastical use. Parish churches
have always been major features of the landscape and a major focus of life for
their parishioners. They provide important insights into medieval and later
population levels or economic cycles, religious activity, artistic endeavour
and technical achievement. A significant number of surviving examples are
identified to be nationally important.

Despite the damage caused by fire and collapse, the surviving fabric of St
Peter's Church graphically illustrates the structure's development from a
simple 12th century building into a large parish church of the 13th and 14th
centuries, and then into a more elaborate structure during the Victorian
period. The removal of the plaster has aided the identification of building
phases, particularly from the earliest period. Visible architectural details
such as the 12th century circular window (partly turned in reused Roman brick)
and the round-headed arch of the original south door are of particular
interest.

Elements of the 12th to 14th century church no longer extant will survive
below ground; they will contain archaeological information relating to the
sequence of rebuilds and environmental evidence for the landscape in which
they were constructed. The surrounding graveyard will also contain further
archaeological evidence relating to the history of the church.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Garwood, A, The Church of St Peter, Alresford, Essex: Building Recording, (1997)
Morant, P, History of Essex, (1768)
Pevsner, N, The Buildings of England: Essex, (1954), p53
Powell, W R, The Victoria History of the County of Essex, (1963), p38
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, (1922)
Laver, H, 'Laver Diary' in Laver Diary: 8th July, (1922)
Rodwell, WJ, 'CBA Research Report No.19' in Historic Churches a wasting asset, (1977), p64
Other
Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Card TM02SE04, (1977)
Tendring, DOE, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, (1987)
Tyler, S, MPP Film , (2000)

Source: Historic England

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