The Restoration of St. Peter's Church in 1856
exhibition was held in St. Peter's Church in 2007 to mark the 151st
anniversary (don't ask!) of the restoration of the church in 1856.
These pages provide an account of the project.
1 - The State of St. Peter's before the Restoration
Most church buildings change over the years as they are extended,
renovated, modernised and generally made more suitable for contemporary
use. St. Peter’s is no exception. The current church building owes much
to a mid-Victorian restoration.
The state of the church was starkly summarised by the Dorset County Chronicle :
old east end was an unsightly finish of a domestic character, having a
projecting bay window of a debased style, and is supposed to have been
brought from the priory. It was surmounted by an ugly elliptical
window, of large and obsolete proportions, in wood. … If we were to
describe the variety of the internal arrangements of the pews, it would
be to term them ‘all sorts and sizes’; many of them might be designated
as ‘sleeping apartments’ of unusual capacity, whilst others were
pinching their occupants so closely as to have a tendency to divert the
attention of the worshipper from the solemn teaching of the
pastor. These incongruities, together with the dilapidated
conditions of some of the sittings, floors, roofing etc., the piers
being cut away in many cases for the insertion of pews, … gave ample
evidence of the want of a restoration of such a noble pile of
The old east end, including the “ugly
elliptical window” are shown below in a pre-restoration picture,
and an architect’s drawing.