Newchurch Village > History > St Peter & St Pauls > Building the Church

St Peter & St Paul's

Originally this was a small church built in the early thirteenth century, probably by monks from Bilsington Priory, and consecrated by Archbishop Rich in 1238. The original chancel is the earliest part of the church, which was enlarged in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries with the addition of the nave, tower and aisles. The north chapel is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and the south chapel is dedicated to St. Michael and St. Thomas of Canterbury. In the 14th century porch covering the north door, there is a holy water stoup. This was to allow all those entering this door to dip their fingers into the consecrated water in the stoup, and make the sign of the cross on their forehead and breast, to remind them of their baptismal vows.

North_door.jpg

The church’s leaning tower was built in two stages. When partly built, its weight on unstable ground had caused it to lean alarmingly towards the west. Large buttresses were erected to prevent it from falling down and building work was stopped. Many years were to pass before it was deemed safe to complete, and the tower can clearly be seen to be crooked. At this time a Roger Simon gave 13s 4d ‘to the new belfry of Newchurch’.

The two towers at Newchurch,
 

Newchurch Village Church Font

 

At the west end of the church is a superb late Medieval font with an octagonal bowl. There is a shield on seven of the eight sides, one has a sword of St. Paul, another the crossed keys of St. Peter, and others bearing the White  Rose of York, the Red Rose of Lancaster and the Tudor Rose. It is thought that this font may have been built as a thanks offering for peace under the first Tudor King, Henry VII (1485) after the Wars of the Roses.

 


The pipe organ was bought from St. James church, Alperton in 1928. Its move to Newchurch, repairs and repainting by Brown and Sons of Canterbury cost £70.  The hand blower was worked by the older children of the village until the electric blower was added in 1959. It is dedicated to the memory of John and Sarah Homewood..

The 14th century porch, North door of St Peter & St Paul's Church © D. Chiverrell

Click here to see a list of the Clergy of Newchurch starting in 1285