St Peter’s, Peterchurch

The final leg of our church-crawl today took us to another multi-cell Norman church, at Peterchurch in the Golden Valley, but one built on a considerably grander scale and with four cells not three. The second cell was probably the base of a now-fallen tower, replaced with a large 13th-century west tower and later a tall spire too. The entrance door is at first-floor level, allegedly to allow the locals to take refuge there and pull up the ladder after them. The present spire is in fact an even later Polyplan replacement, which the Pevsner guide coyly describes as a mixed blessing, but the church has to be congratulated on achieving a determined make-over which has create an excellent cafe in the second cell, and a branch of the county library in the tower, both served by a new kitchen and toilet ‘pod’ at the west end.

The east end has by contrast retained its air of sacred separation, and the great thing to look for here is the surviving mediaeval “Mensa” or altar-slab, still with its consecration crosses. Look out too for glass by Clayton and Bell (indifferent but colourful) in the cafe and a fine recent piece in the choir commemorating the patron saint.