Carleton St Peter – St. Peter’s Church

This is a remote little church in Carleton St Peter and this is the track which reaches it from the road. The parish is small with just a handful of properties, although there is evidence of prehistoric, Roman and medieval activity in the area. It seems that the villagers have just moved away since the medieval period, which makes the survival of this church all the more remarkable.

Although there was a church here in late Saxon times, the currently building primarily dates from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with numerous later additions. There are some early Norman features in the building, namely some lancet windows, which have likely been kept from the earlier structure and built into the fabric of the current church.

An older infilled window, likely Norman.

The chancel with no windows here on this side of the church, although it’s hard to see from the outside where it joins to the nave, as there’s a continuous slate roof.

The tower is later than the main fabric of the church, dating to the early sixteenth century, with construction perhaps halted at one point which is evident from the different stonework.

The polygonal stairs on the church tower.

The churchyard, with a plot dug for a burial, and the area is quite open and spacious. There was an article in the Lowestoft Journal in 1876 which mentions when Edmund Perkins Hytton was buried in a vault in the graveyard, with his sister, Deborah Perkins Hayward, being buried in the same vault when in 1891 she died at the age of 97.

The crossed keys of St. Peter on the stonework.

Unfortunately, this is a church that is currently locked, although the Church of England say that it will open during daylight hours when some form of normality resumes. The porch is nineteenth century and likely replaced an earlier one, but there’s some history to that wooden door and it dates to some time in the medieval period.

There’s an information board at the entrance to the porch and this notes that the church still has its King James Bible from 1611, which they refer to as a ‘Black Bible’ as it was without colouring (I haven’t heard of that term before). I’ve heard of the Great She Bible and these crop up from time to time, such as in the parish of Gisburn in 2015.

A tithe map from the 1840s which shows the location of the church, and also how there’s nothing more than just a path to it. And therein lies the beauty of this church, a rural building unburdened by traffic and as familiar today as it would have been to the congregation of 500 years ago. And, hopefully, it’ll still look nearly exactly the same in another 100 years.