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Raunds, St Peter

Raunds, St Peter

The church stands on rising ground above the main road. The first thing you see is the great west tower, richly ornamented, with spire above (the latter replaced in 1821 after a fire).

The tower is part of the early 13th century rebuilding of the Norman church which resulted in one of the finest medieval buildings in East Northamptonshire.

Internally a broad nave with side aisles, the main Victorian fixtures found here introduced by G.G. Scott (1870s) and by Townsend & Sons (c.1900). The principal decoration though remains the splendid sequence of late medieval wall paintings which include, above the chancel arch, angels carrying the instruments of the passion surrounding the cross.

High up on the north side of the nave are yet further paintings. These are not the usual biblical scenes but rather depictions of the seven deadly sins, followed by an enormous St Christopher and then the Legend of the Three Living and the Three Dead. Above the tower arch you will find a medieval painted clock face supported by angels with donors.

Remains of two paintings can be seen on the North wall. It is thought these were were of St. George slaying the dragon and St. Catherine being nailed to a wheel for her faith. The ones that remain on the North aisle of the church are to remind us of human morals and values. The skeletons remind us that we are all mortal whatever our station in life. Another is of St. Christopher who was ready to swear allegiance to the strongest power. First, it was the local squire, but when he showed fear of the devil, Christopher changed allegiance to him. Subsequently, when the devil trembled at the sight of the cross, he changed allegiance to Christ. Shortly afterwards, he was given the job of carrying people across the river.

All paintings of St. Christopher were normally opposite the door, so that people saw it as they entered. There was a medieval belief that you would not suffer sudden death, if you had seen St. Christopher that day. It is almost certain that on the south aisle wall opposite the paintings that still remain there would have been paintings with Biblical themes; the Nativity would have been included. Opposite the seven deadly sins there would have most likely been the 'mercies' as described in Matthew. One side would have been an indication of what not to do in life and the other directions for our behaviour. These paintings would have been dominated by the scene on the wall above the chancel step showing the Crucifixion. There would have been a cross and figures of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John in stone and the remainder of the painting would have been done round them. The paintings would have been done by itinerant painters who would usually paint the same scene in each church they visited, scaling the size according to the dimensions of the church they were attending at the time. All the paintings were done for an illiterate people to understand, few people could read then.

Please refer to the Glossary for any terms in the text that you are unfamiliar with.

Contact & Opening Times

St Peters Church, Church Street, Raunds, Northamptonshire, NN9 6JB|
[email protected]|

Opening Times

The church is normally locked, see below for contact details.


Contact Details

Key obtainable from:

Maureen Windust

Telephone: 01933 622220

Email: [email protected]

Mike Turner

Telephone: 01933 623289

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Click the pins on the map to see other attractions nearby

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