According to the 13th century chronicler Matthew Paris, there was a church on the site as far back as 948, when Abbot Ulsinus of St Albans Abbey set up three churches on the edges of the town. They were St Peter’s, St Stephen’s and St Michael’s. This one, St Peter’s is on the northern edge of the town.
This early Saxon church has been replaced and there is now nothing dating back to that time. One of the earliest remnants is now to be found in the corner of the site and is right beside the pavement on St Peter’s Street. I have walked past it hundreds of times and not realized it was there. Not surprising because it is almost invisible and almost covered with Ivy.
This is part of what was known as the Charnell chapel and dates back to at least 1400. I took some photos of it and pedestrians passing by gave me some odd looks. Not surprising really but this is what it looks like now. The church yard has lots of information boards which adds to the interest and this is a close up of one of them with information relating to this chapel.
The graveyard, is more than a graveyard, it has a peaceful area where you can sit and contemplate or eat your sandwiches.
It has some ‘wildlife’ areas with wild flowers to attract insects and birds. There is an orchard area, some magnificent old trees, especially Yews. There is an area where lots of children were buried back in the 18th century.
The church itself has been restored, enlarged, and rebuilt at various stages throughout its history. The doorways still date back to the 13th century although the door itself does not look quite that old to me.
Opposite the church are some Alms houses, these were built in 1627 by one Pemberton, the High Sheriff of St Albans. He is buried in the graveyard of St Peter’s. Evidently he built them because he ‘accidentally’ killed an old lady with an arrow from his bow!???? So this was his way to seek forgiveness from the almighty. You will notice there is an arrow at the top of the arch above the doorway.
So that is it. The church has a web site so if you wish you can find out more at http://www.stpeterschurch.uk.com/