St Peter's Church


The site where St. Peter's church now stands was probably used for arable farming in Prehistoric, Roman and early pagan Saxon times. There has been evidence found in excavations of a circular Romano-British hut and a timber framed building. An oval enclosed settlement lay alongside which can still be seen in the roads and paths nearby. On the hillside behind the Market Place was the pagan Saxon cemetery. It was the focus of early settlement in Barton upon Humber.

Inside the tower of St Peter's looking towards the blocked western door.
The baptistry looking west.
The font
Looking towards the earliest part of St Peter's
Looking west towards the tower
Stained glass window
A stained glass window

 The first Christian use of the church site was in the late 800's or early 900's and may have centred around a wooden church. This church had a burial site just to the south of the Saxon nave. The first stone church (some of which still survives today) was built in around 970. This first stone structure was symmetrical in shape, with a central tower, a western baptistry with a font, and an eastern chancel (which was later demolished). Above the baptistry would have been the Priest's lodgings (most likely) and above the nave would have been the belfry. The material used to build the earliest part of the church would have been Roman stone, brought from York, and local sandstone. The tower would have had a wooden spire.

The Norman period saw the rebuilding of the eastern section with a larger nave and chancel. The church would have been plastered at this time.

In the Medieval period the eastern area was rebuilt and enlarged again. The nave was widened and the chancels, isles, arcades and porches were all rebuilt. The church was highly decorated in this time but most was removed at the Reformation. Some of the ugly "grotesques" and Green Men still exist in the nave.

By the time of the Black Death in 1348-9 St Peter's had grown to be six times it's original size.

In 1803 a new pulpit was provided with seating around it and in 1848 the churchyard was extended and planted with evergreen trees. The church was restored by the Victorians in 1858. Around 1867 is  was thought that as most churches of this period had a western entrance St. Peter's should have one,  so a western door was built in the baptistry. This was soon proclaimed as vandalism and in 1869 the western opening of the tower was blocked with chalkstone. The scar is still visible today.

There have been numerous excavations of St Peter's church over the years. A small trench was excavated in 1913, another small area was excavated in 1945 and the major excavation lasted from 1978 to 1984.

St Peter's is 78 foot 4 inches long, 63 foot 8 inches breadth and the tower is 18 foot square.

St Peter's was made redundant in 1972 and is now in the care of English Heritage. It has had careful conservation and excavation since 1978. The eight bells in the tower were brought back to ring in the new Millennium. These date from 1598 onwards.

Admission charges now apply. Please check with English Heritage for latest opening times & admission prices (currently for 2009/10 - 1 April 2009 until 31 March 2010, Sat, Sun & Mon 11am to 3pm {closed 24 to 26 Dec & 1 Jan}). Admission is 3.00 for adults, 2.60 for concessions and 1.50 for children between 5 and 15 years - but please check first if making a special journey.


The Church's Timeline

AD 800 - 1066 Saxon and Anglo Viking
1066 - 1180 Norman
1180 - 1540 Medieval
1540 - 1850 Post-Reformation
1850 - Present Victorian and present day

For more images of St Peter's Church click here
Is St Peter's Church and grounds haunted? click here

Related Links (inbarton is not responsible for the content of external Internet websites)

St Peter's Church, Barton upon Humber - St Peter's Church website.

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