The most wonderful setting for any church, especially a romantic ruin. St Peter’s church is one of the Wiggenhall churches and is a short walk along the banks of the river Ouse from St Germain’s church at Wiggenhall St Germans. I had seen the church in the distance when I had visited St Germain’s and thought I could get my husband to come with me, if we took the dogs for a walk…..it worked and we had a nice couple of hours walking and exploring in the sunshine.
St Peters sits down from the river bank, so you can get a good view of the interior from a height which you would not normally be able to do. Really all that is missing is the roof, the rest is more or less complete. Its like a history lesson on building a church, more so than any other ruins I have visited.
View from standing under the tower looking down the nave, through the chancel arch into the chancel to the east window. Lots of tracery remains in the nave windows and looking to the south side there are traces of an arcade and there would have been an aisle……I had worked that out before I looked the church up…..so pleased that something is sinking in. On the web site of British listed buildings it mentions that the south aisle had been demolished in 1840 and 3 light windows rest into blocked arcade arches and you can see this in great detail. I wonder why the aisle were demolished.
The church is largely 15th century, with the chancel constructed in 1421, the wooden beams and floors inside the tower remain. When you start walking around you noticed a large amount of headstops and then you start to wonder how the church interior would have looked like. Would it have looked like the other 3 Wiggenhall churches that are truly special and what have we missed.
St Peters’s is built of ashlar with brick repairs and was still intact in the 1920’s but redundant. The building is maintained by the Norfolk Historic Churches and they have carried out a good job on making it safe for you to explore with out really knowing that is been made safe.
The River Ouse is quite wide at this point and over the last few weeks has been very high, all the rivers and the large drainage ditches have been full. There is a high bank holding back the water, but I should think in the past the church has been flooded several times over its lifetime. But that afternoon the sun was shining and the river look peaceful and not dangerous like it can do when nearly breaching its banks…..but that is what we live with in the Fens all the time. Around our garden with have large drainage ditches that sometimes are nearly overflowing and other times in the summer really dry, although not quite as large as the River Ouse.
It is a lovely area and with the 4 churches very special and I think it gets missed of the tourist track which is quite a good thing as everyone heads for the Norfolk coast, but if you are ever in the area it is well worth a visit.