The photograph this month shows St. Peter’s Church in the 1860s. The large extension on the left with its south porch, built in 1833, provided a gallery for the school children to use, and was paid for by William Borrer of Barrow Hill. This had replaced a lean-to aisle, a small south transept, and a rather long central porch. The north side also had a lean-to aisle which had two dormer windows. This is believed to have been built in 1626 to provide a private gallery. The museum has a nice water colour painting on display which shows this. Inside the church at this time were the box pews. The prominent people in the village had their boxes close to the altar whereas the poor from the workhouse were right at the back. 

The museum has a drawing of the layout of the pews produced by Bob Ward who lived at the Cat House. In 1870/71 major restoration work was carried out to the church at a cost of around £3,000. The Borrer family were once again involved with the scheme. The nave, tower, and Parham Chapel, on the right of the photograph, remained intact, but the galleries on the north and south sides were demolished. These were replaced by the north and south aisles and transepts which you see today. The chancel was lengthened out beyond the line of the Parham Chapel, and raised in height. The Horsham stone slabs on the chancel roof were replaced with tiles. The knapped flint work which you see today on the outside of the church indicates the restoration work carried out. There are seven stained glass windows by C.E.Kempe, or his company, in the church. The earliest is the east window dating from 1875. The Kempe logo appears in the corners of the windows. For the pre 1895 windows the logo is three wheatsheaves in a shield. For windows dating from c.1895-1907 the logo is a single wheatsheaf. After the death of Kempe in 1907, between c.1908-1934 the logo used was a wheatsheaf with a tower superimposed on it. Sometimes the logo has the letters AET within a shield. This stands for Alfred E. Tombleson who was Kempe’s chief glass painter and later a director of the company. Inside the church the box pews were replaced by the bench pews which themselves were replaced by chairs in 2008.

Taken from the January 2017 edition of The Parish Magazine.

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