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St Peter, Cringleford
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If you approach the church from the east, an intriguing building unfolds before you. You can see straight away that this is a very old survival, certainly early Norman at the latest, and quite probably late Saxon. That it has survived without rebuilding near a city which was, in late Medieval times, one of the busiest and richest in England, is remarkable. The chancel with its double-splayed north window is one of the earliest in East Anglia. Later windows have been put through, and a filled-in archway behind a 19th century buttress by the north porch suggests that once there might have been a chapel here, possibly to do with travellers from London?
The tower is much later, probably 14th century, and there is a south aisle of the 1890s. That St Peter underwent such a late restoration was to its benefit, because people were much more careful about preserving the past in the 1890s than they had been forty years earlier.
The south aisle creates a squareness, with the chancel off at one corner. The arcade appears to be late medieval, and Pevsner suggests that the new aisle replaced an older one.
The great excitement of the interior is one of the finest collections of glass, medieval and modern, in the urban area. In the upper lights are figures of the 15th century Norwich School, including a cowled figure who may be a peasant or a monk, and a Saint with the familiar barley corns strewn at his feet.
Simon Knott, April 2007
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