History of St Peter's Church, Abbots Morton

The parish church, dedicated to St Peter, stands on the site of a Saxon church. The current Grade I-listed building is the result of rebuilding and alterations performed since the 12th century. The list of Rectors of Abbots Morton stretches back to Petrus le Meare in 1288.

Click here to see information about the parish registers.

Images of St Peter's, Abbots Morton

The oldest part of the church is the north wall which dates from the 12th century, and is now supported by a modern buttress. The chancel was rebuilt in the 14th century, with the east window being added later in the same century. The Lady Chapel on the north side of the church, now used for the organ and choir, was added at about the same time.

The south doorway, now the only entrance to the church, was constructed during the 15th century, and two pews from this period are incorporated into the porch. A second doorway, now blocked-up, can be seen in the north wall; this may have been used by the monks from the abbots' retreat to the north of the church. The exposed roof beams, many of them roughly-shaped branches rather than carefully cut timber, have also been dated to the 15th century. In 1955 the residents of the parish raised over £1,300 (worth more than £25,000 today) to preserve the beams.

A "Royal Head" bell

The tower was built in the late 14th century. The oldest bell, the tenor, dates from the 15th century and may have been hung soon after the tower was completed. It is one of the few remaining "Royal Head" bells, where the stops between the words of the inscription "Virgenis Egregie Vocor Campana Maria" represent the heads of Edward III and Queen Philippa. The 2nd bell is dated 1633, while the 3rd and treble bells were cast by Thomas Mears of London in 1842.

Bell tower restoration

During the summer of 2015 the 14th century bell tower was extensively restored on all four exterior elevations following a successful two-year public appeal for £45,000.

The restoration, in Chicksgrove Stone quarried near Salisbury, was carried out by stonemasons Ian Bishop and his wife Becky Spanner, directors of Tewkesbury Conservation Ltd, under the instruction of architect John Middleton of John C Goom of Evesham.

The work included the installation of new louvred windows, all four pairs especially hand crafted in oak at the James Winter Workshop at Gloucester Cathedral.


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