History

The remains of St Peters church and its walled graveyard lie at the north eastern edge of the new Stanton Low Country Park, near Great Linford, Milton Keynes.

St Peters has been subjected to many alterations during the course of its history, and so it is difficult to precisely date all of its parts.

A report published in 1927 (when the building was intact and in use) described it as being built of rubble with a roof covered with tiles.

The report tells us that the chancel was probably an early church to which a new nave was added during the first half of the 12th century. Some of the earliest congregations would therefore have gathered in the times of Henry the Second and Richard the Lionheart if not earlier.

The south wall of the chancel, which was unusually thick, is thought to be the oldest part of the building. It was pierced by two openings; both appear to have opened into a south chapel and dates from the 12th century.

The chancel arch, once a beautiful example of Norman work, dates from around 1150 and was originally of two orders, the outer ornamented with a chevron moulding and the inner with a large roll with beak-head and grotesque ornament at intervals. A third gothic arch was added for strengthening around the 14th century. The arch was removed to St James, New Bradwell, after the roof of St Peters collapsed in 1956.

In the 13th century the north wall of the chancel was rebuilt and a north aisle added to the nave. The west wall of the nave was rebuilt in the 15th century.

 

The north aisle was probably completed in the 13th century and removed in the late 16th century, when the arcade was blocked and the north porch built.

By 1950 the church had ceased to be used and this picture on the right shows the church stripped of pews and furniture.

In the chancel floor was a slab to the memory of Clare Wittewronge (d.1669), Wife to John Wittewronge.

The Calvinist, Rev John Mason, preached at the Funeral of Mrs. Wittewronge. Mason was for a time vicar of Stantonbury (at that time a virtually deserted village) and was also chaplain to John Wittewronge who was a Parliamentary Officer during the English Civil War. Mason subsequently published the sermon in 1671 under the title The Waters of Marah Sweetned and went on to be known as a poet and influential hymn-writer.

Today, sadly, St Peters is but a broken shell, of the proud little church that weathered nearly a thousand years of English history. None-the-less with a little TLC, and a supportive community, these stones can stand proud for many more years, as a quiet and tranquil reminder, of the people, history and heritage around which a new city has grown.

10 thoughts on “History

  1. I WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO BE CHRISTINED IN THIS CHURCH FOR 200 YRS
    MY PARENTS LIVED IN NEW BRADWELL & I DID OF COURSE UNTIL I GOT MARRIED & MOVED TO SUSSEX.BUT STILL HAVE RELATIONS LIVING IN THAT AREA,

    • Oh how fasinating, do you have any photos of your Christening that we could put on our website? What date was that?
      Are you related to the Tarry who was the butcher in New Bradwell?

      • Yes, My mother (above – Phyllis Tarry, nee Sprittles) was married to Sam Tarry, son of Sam Tarry jnr of the Butcher’s shop in St Mary’s Street Barbara. Mum has no photos of her christening sadly

  2. If there is anything I can do to help save the church ruins let me know.I think it’s a travesty that the land is being made into yet another country park.I go there often to watch barn owls hunting l
    Are they going to do some arcealogical excavation work to find any relics from what was the medieval village of stanton low? Or just flatten it “planner style “? I saw the “suits “wandering about there last year moaning about the mud and their shoes lol

    • Dear Jan

      Thank you for your comments on the church.

      There will be an archaeological excavation on the church in September as part of the Open Heritage Days.
      There is a walk from the Black Horse pub Great Linford to the church and a tour around the remains planned for 11-14th Sept .

      Details can be found on the Milton Keynes Open Heritage Calendar of events website.

      We plan to show a copy of the results of the dig which took place in 1955.

      The remains of the orchard of 4 cottages can be seen.

  3. Good for you wanting to save this historical building once a place of worship! It’s difficult to understand how so much happened to the building since 1950!
    Wishing you God speed on your restoration efforts…all the way from Canada, where I worship in a 120 year old Anglican church, considered old in British Columbia!

  4. I am the great great great great granddaughter of Thomas Harrison of Wolverton House and may have some useful information for you – I live locally in Bradville and would be only to happy to help you with your research

  5. Thank you all for the great effort in documenting this church. Does anyone have any memory (and images?) of the old baptismal font here? Our sources inform that it was an original bowl of the 12thC re-cut in the 17thC.

    Kind regards,

    Miguel A. Torrens, director
    Baptisteria Sacra Index
    University of Toronto
    Canada

  6. Found this little church when out walking my dog. What a sense of history surrounds it. I could imagine people over the centuries walking to church chatting as they went. Just loved it hope it stands for many more centuries.

  7. I was very interested in the preservation work going on at St Peter’s Church and the comments shared by other people.
    I too have a vivid memory, when as a little girl walking along the canal path with my mother and brother, from New Bradwell to St Peter’s Church to a Whit -Sunday service held there in the afternoon.
    The church I remember looked very much like the picture you show, with the roof still on, but no pews or furniture.It could not have been later than 1950, was it possibly a final service there? I don’t remember the details as I would only have been around 7 years old. in fact I still have a photograph of the church, roof still intact taken around the same time.
    Although we now live in Desborough, Northants, I regularly receive a copy of the Haversham Village Magazine, and quite often return to the area, so will look forward to visiting the church hopefully in Sept.
    Good Luck with all your efforts. Carol Best

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