St Pierre, St Peter

THE CHURCH OF ST. PETER, ST. PIERRE

The dedication of this Saxon church indicates the birthplace (St. Pierre near Caen) of the Norman knights who settled here. The church contains both Saxon and Norman architectural features.

Earl Harold had a hunting lodge near this site which was reduced to ashes in 1065. Worse was to befall him in 1066.

During Cromwell’s Commonwealth (1647 – 1659), William Hurd, the minister, was ‘turned out of the Rectory’. The font, the Norman stone altar top and the 15th Century oak chancel screen were similarly ejected but survived, thanks to the cunning of the parishioners who hid or buried them.  They were re-united in the present building in 1874.

For centuries a place of worship for a small rural community, this tiny church now draws in an eclectic congregation for the 1662 Rite of Holy Communion on Sunday morning, sometimes augmented by patrons of the Marriott St. Pierre Hotel and Golf Club, the present owners of the surrounding buildings and land.

The accuracy of the sign indicating the incumbent’s dedicated parking space immediately adjacent to the churchyard gate was challenged by the previous Archbishop of Canterbury. The legend reads: “Reserved Vicar”. Rowan’s comments are not for publication.

St. Peter is represented in the Grouped Parish Logo by his keys.

with thanks to Monnica Williams for the potted history