St. Peter’s Church
Tickencote, Rutland PE9 4AE
St. Peter’s Church, Tickencote is a Grade I listed building in the United Kingdom. The original church was built in the mid-12th century, and was later rebuilt in 1791 on the old foundations at the expense of Elizabeth “Eliza” Wingfield (d. 14 July 1794), by the architect Samuel Pepys Cockerell. St. Peter’s Church is the ancestral mother church of the Wingfield Tickencote, Rutland branch for over four centuries – from 1594 to the present.
The current church consists of a three-bay nave, a chancel, tower of two storey and a bell-stage on the south side and a transept on the north side which is used as a vestry. The tower also acts as an entrance porch.
The church consists of a chancel with a sexpartite vault, which is of remarkable magnificence. In Francis Bond’s work “English Church Architecture”, Vol. I. p. 317, he noted the following:
“In England the sexpartite vault hardy exists in Romanesque work, except in the little chancel of Tickencote Church, Rutland. It was not till 1175 it was imported to Canterbury by William of Sens, and copied later in Lincoln Minister and elsewhere.”
The restored east end of the chancel has blind arcades of intersecting round-headed arches and engaged round shafts. Round-headed east window with stylized leaf-mouldings and billet-moulded hood mould continuing as frieze to either side. It is much to be regretted that the steps which led from the North-East corner of the chancel, in the thickness of the wall, up to the Priest’s Chamber which still exists above the sexpartite vaulting were removed in 1792. A window opening form the chamber into the nave was also removed. The Priest Chamber runs the whole length of the chancel, and access to this chamber can now only be had through the ceiling of the vestry. Light to this chamber comes through a window above the East Window of the Chancel. Two orders of blind round-headed arcading above billet frieze. Blind rectangular panels in the east gable. On the north and south sides of chancel are arcade and billet friezes.
The Chancel Arch
The most import and impressive feature of the church is the round-headed chancel arch. This arch has six elaborately decorated orders on ornamental capitals. The inner order is roll-moulded, the second has beak-heads, the third has zig-zags and continuous crenellation, the fourth various heads including those of a king and queen, figures, animals, a green man and foliage and the fifth with zig-zags and the sixth an abstract version of beak mouldings. The outermost edge of the arch is decorated with billet moulding.
The Nave and Font
The Nave, which was later medieval, was rebuilt in the 1791 restoration on the old foundations, and on the same plan doubtless as the old Norman nave. The font is a fine specimen of 13th century work, seventy or eighty years later than the chancel arch. It is enriched with dog-tooth ornament and arcading of interlacing round arches. It will be noticed that on the stone at the top there is a hold cut where in former times a bar and staple had been inserted. The reason for this was that in 1236, Edmund Rich, Archbishop of Canterbury, ordered that all fonts were to be kept locked under seal because the hallowed water was apt to be taken away. For this reason the Parish had to provide a cover, and this cover was fastened down with a bar and staple, and the hole where the staple used to be is still to be seen. The font currently is positioned close to the arch, but an 18th century plan shows that it was originally closer to the west end on the north side.
Tower and Porch
The tower has pyramidal roof contains bells which until 1792 hung in a bell-cote at the west end of the chancel. The old pre-reformation bell is in nave of the church. The tower acts as a porch and the round headed entrance has roll-moulded orders and tympanum with a tablet to Eliza Wingfield with the following inscription:
“Eliza Wingfield, with that true sense of religion and reverence for her maker, whichever distinguished her life, rebuilt this church in the year 1791. She died July 14th, 1794, aged 87 years, and her remains are here deposited”
Old Altar Slab
The present altar stands on a slab of Purbeck marble. This is doubtless the old altar slab, as old as the chancel itself. The present altar is a late Jacobean table with bulged legs, and bears the following Latin inscription on the East and West sides:
“O Precor aeternae tecum Discumbere Mensae
Des illi Mensam Hane quae tibi Christie Dedit”
On the South end is inscribed:
“Ex Dono Da Annae Beverly, Anno Domini, 1627”
The full meaning of this inscription is as follows:
“O Christ, I pray Thee, grant to her who gave this
table to Thee to sit down at Thine Eternal Table.
The gift of the Lady Ann Beverly, 1627”
The Registers of Tickencote, with the names of all such as have been married, baptized, or buried, begin A.D. 1574, and continue without intermission till the present time.