Ampney St Peter

St Peter's Church

Originally a Saxon Church - the south wall remains and the round headed arch to the tower still witnesses to Saxon skill as builders.  A small female figure looks down on the 15th century Font.  She is 12 inches tall, and was perhaps a Saxon fertility goddess - such figures are sometimes termed "Sheela-na-gigs".

The low west tour has a gabled roof and small rectangular windows built by the Normans; there is also a transitional Norman Chancel arch with a billeted hood mould.  On the north side of the arch the rood loft stairs are preserved, reminding us by their height and with how small our forebears were.

Opposite in the south wall is a double piscina and credence shelf; the two nave windows in this wall are of later Perpendicular and Tudor insertions.

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VICTORIAN CHANGES

In 1878, Sir Gilbert Scott, the renowned architect, restored and extended the church.  As this was about the time that St Mary's Church ceased to be used, the north aisle has been called St Mary's or Ashbrook aisle.  Small lancet windows from the original north wall were re-inserted.  One in the new north walls, one in the north wall of the chancel and one in the choir vestry.  The handsome Communion Table in the north aisle is Jacobean.

In the chancel, the reredos is of carved alabaster dated 1887.  Together with much of the stained glass, it is typical of that period.  The royal figure wearing a crown and holding an orb is something of a mystery. Discovered locally on a farm, the figure was brought into the church.  No one knows who he represents or his age, although he is not thought to be particularly old.

Outside there is the old Churchyard Cross.  Its steps, base and shaft are 14th century, although the head has been restored.  Looking down from the south eave of the roof is a lonely gargoyle rain-spout.  In pre-reformation times this church and its surrounding lands belonged to the Abbey of Gloucester.