Monument record ERL 011 - Church of St Peter (remains)

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Scheduled Monument - All that remains of the church of St Peter is a section of the E end, modified, re-roofed and now utilised as a farm building. Also Listed Building.


Grid reference Centred TL 7211 8074 (11m by 26m)
Map sheet TL78SW


Type and Period (2)

Full Description

All that remains of the church of St Peter is a section of the E end, modified, re-roofed and now utilised as a farm building. There is a stone inscribed with the date 1731 on the W wall. Part of the chancel arch is visible and a bit of tracery in the E window - C15, which agrees with a print showing remains of the whole church circa 1720. Moyses Hall Museum has a decorated floor tile from the site (S1). There is a complete window on the N side (S2).
The remains of the church are now known as the 'Dovehouse' and stand in the grounds of Eriswell Hall. In these remains there are plentiful signs of reconstruction in the Norman style and stones carved in that and later styles are embedded in neighbouring modern buildings. A very large window in Decorated style is known (from a C18 sketch: Cambridge University Library MSS 22.3) to have been inserted in the eastern part of the nave's S wall, and another smaller, in Perpendicular style can still be seen opposite it, in the N wall. This last may well have been inserted with part of the 40 pounds Lady Margaret Bedingfield left in 1474 for beautifying the church. She and her grandfather, Sir John de Tudenham, who willed to be buried in the chancel in 1392, are the only two lords of the manor known to have been buried in Eriswell. It is not known how soon after the Reformation the church became derelict, but the sketch mentioned, made about 1720, shows it already roofless and without a chancel: it was finally demolished in 1754 except for the eastern one-third of the nave. Throughout its traceable history it consisted of a tower some 12 feet square, a nave 43 by 27 feet, and a chancel about 21 feet square: there were neither aisles nor chapels. On the ground the outline of the foundations can easily be traced. Lady Margaret willed to be buried 'before the image of the Holy Cross near the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the nave': this altar being in front of the respond of the chancel arch, her grave would be beneath the Perpendicular window. It is possible that the three second-hand windows in the rubble-built C17 addition to the W Front of Lakenheath church came from the chancel of Eriswell St Peter (S3).
Remains converted into a dovecote in the C18; limestone plaque with `TR 1754' on the south side (S4).

Sources/Archives (6)

  • --- Digital archive: Historic England. National Record Of the Historic Environment.
  • <M1> (No record type): SAM file:.
  • <S1> Unpublished document: Department of the Environment. Scheduling information.
  • <S2> Index: OS. OS Card. OS card, TL78SW48, 1972.
  • <S3> (No record type): Revd Munday, J T, The topography of medieval Eriswell, PSIA, 30, 1965, (2), 201- 209.
  • <S4> (No record type): Listed Building notes.

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Protected Status/Designation

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Record last edited

Mar 3 2021 11:21AM

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