The Saxon Sanctuary

6th May 2014

Saxon Sanctuary Sign

St Peter’s Church – a Saxon Sanctuary …

As Warwickshire’s oldest church the site of St Peter’s Church dates back to between 723 and 736 when the King of Mercia, Aethelbald gave Aethelric of the Hwicce 2000 acres of land for a monastic settlement of Benedictine Monks at what was then called ‘Wudu Tun.’

By the mid-9th Century there was a stone minster church on the site surrounded by a thriving monastic community.

This stone minster – or Saxon Sanctuary – held sway for around 200 years.

St Peters Church at Wootton Wawen

The Saxon demise …

By the early Norman period this Saxon Monastery was gone and the church was dedicated to St Peter.

The Chancel of St Peter’s was built in the 1130’s to act as a chapel and then in 1443 Henry VI confiscated the priory at Wootton and transferred it to King’s College, Cambridge. The college’s various influences are responsible for the church we see on the site today.

The Altar in the Sanctuary

St Peter’s Church – a Saxon Sanctuary …

Chained Library:

This located along one side of the South Aisle to the Chancel and contains a number of ancient texts from the 16th and 17th Centuries including a ‘Breeches Bible’ and a ‘Black Letter Bible’ in Gothic script.

The West Wall:

This contains a late Saxon or early Norman door flanked by 18th Century fluted wooden columns.

On either side of the window above the door are projecting carved heads that depict Edward III and Queen Phillipa.

North East Wall:

Here you find the altar tomb of Francis Smith, (d. 1605). This takes up the entire wall and is topped with a carving of the deceased in a reclining position.

These are just a few of the wonderful historic highlights contained within this ancient building – we strongly suggest paying it a visit yourself to take in its full historic splendour.

To see the full low-down visit the Church Website.


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