Tuesday, 15 December 2015

St. Peter's Church - The Exterior

A general view of St. Peter's church

When last standing on the top of the keep at Conisbrough Castle – surveying the landscape all around me – I struck up a conversation with an elderly couple who had driven from Lincoln and were on the way to see their family in Huddersfield. Having talked about the merits of the castle, which they had never visited before, I highly recommended that – if they had the time – they should visit St. Peter’s church.

A view of the chancel

As a valuation surveyor – in Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire – I developed an interest in old stone buildings when visiting countless villages where the settlement had grown around the church and I thought that they would particularly like this place.

14th century stonework

Archaeologists have studied this church in great depth and it is considered to be the oldest Saxon church in South Yorkshire; scholarly texts also indicate that it would probably have been one of the very many burghs that were developed to counter the constant attacks from the Vikings from Denmark - who wanted to claim the throne of England for themselves.

Carved bosses

At first sight, St.Peter’s church displays all of the features of the perpendicular style of architecture but, looking closely at the masonry around the exterior, there are also sections from the 14th century and various “restorations” by the Victorians and additions by the Edwardians – as well as various undated repairs.

A Norman arch with zig-zag mouldings

Once you have entered the porch, it becomes clear that this church is in fact a lot older than the exterior suggests, with a round Norman arch with zig-zag mouldings to the doorway. Set into the wall of the porch, there is also a highly weathered stone carving of Romano-British age.

A Romano-British sculpture

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