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The Church of St Peter Mancroft

Situated in front of the Forum - in the centre of the city


The Vicar -The Revd Peter W Nokes, BA
37, Unthank Road, Norwich NR2 2PB / Tel: 627816

The Revd E Charles Kerr, Asst Curate
63, Recreation Road, Norwich NR2 3PA / Tel: 451878

The Revd  Sarah Miller, Non-Stipendiary Assistant Curate
Tel: 451878

The Revd Canon Hereward RG Cooke, BD, Industrial Chaplain
31, Bracondale, Norwich NR1 2AT / Tel: 624827

 

History

St Peter Mancroft is a beautiful parish church situated in the centre of Norwich adjacent to the open market place. Like the castle and market place, it was a Norman foundation, the first church being built here by Ralph de Guader, Earl of Norfolk, in 1075, and dedicated to St Peter and St Paul.
       Shortly afterwards Earl Ralph lost everything by rebellion against William the Conqueror, who now bestowed the church on one of his chaplains, Wala, and he gave it to the Abbey of St Peter at Gloucester when he joined the Benedictine monks there.
     It remained under the patronage of Gloucester Abbey for three hundred years, and was known as St Peter of Gloucester in Norwich. Then in 1388, after local pressure, it was handed over to the Benedictine community of St Mary-in-the-Fields, who had their own great church situated only 150 yards (140m) away on a site now covered by the Assembly House and the Theatre Royal. The Dean and Chapter of St Mary's found the old Church of St Peter and St Paul so badly out of repair that in 1390 they decided to rebuild it. But it was not until 1430 with gifts and legacies from wealthy citizens, and donations from merchant and craft guilds, that the first stone was laid. After twenty-five years, in 1455, the Church of St Peter and St Paul was re-consecrated, its proportions and furnishings as perfect as their sense of worship, their love of beauty, and their claim on the generosity and skills of Norwich citizens would allow. 
    At the time of the Reformation the two Saints Peter and Paul were given independent Saints' days and the Churches' name was changed to St Peter Mancroft. The Mancroft part of the name is thought to have come from the period when the Normans disrupted the Saxon market in Tombland by building their cathedral and monastery enclosure over it, forcing the citizens to set up a new market in the Magna Crofta or 'Great Meadow' adjacent to their castle, where a watchful eye could be kept on it. The name Mancroft or the 'Man' part of it is thought to have been taken from the name of the original owner of this land.

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Weekday Services in the Jesus or Lady Chapel

Monday -  Morning Prayer 9am*
Pram Service (4th only) 10.30am
Tuesday - Morning Prayer 9am*
Prayer Group 10.45am
Holy Communion 1.10pm
Wednesday - Holy Communion 7.15am
Thursday - Morning Prayer 9am*
Holy Communion 10.30am
Friday - Morning Prayer 9am*
Julian Meeting 15th only) 10.00am

* Subject to availability of clergy

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Some Details of the Church

Windows - The East Window  has thirty-nine tracery lights and forty-two main lights. All these are 15th century except for seven main lights which are Victorian. (Of these Victorian panels five are in the lower part of the centre column, and two are at the bottom on either side of the centre column.) At the bottom right hand corner you may see two panels depicting two of the families who gave the window. (The bottom right hand picture has a father and mother and two daughters. One daughter has a halo round her head and we think that probably her original head was lost in 1648 when an explosion blew out the windows of the Church and the glass was scattered. She seems to have done well out of this as her own head was replaced by a spare saints head.)

The Roof - Pay tribute to the 1960's craftsmen who filled the church with scaffolding, raised the roof on jacks and pulled straight the walls which had been driven outwards by centuries of pressure from the immense weight of the hammer-beam roof and put in hand the magnificent work of repair and restoration. It is an Angel roof with a single row of small angels on either side of the Nave but a double row on either side of the Chancel.

The Tower - Rises 146 feet to the top of the leaded flèche which was added in the 19th century.

Ringing Chamber - The Tower houses fourteen bells and week by week the Ringers ring one of the finest and most historic peals in the world. The bells rang out over the city in 1588 to celebrate "the tryumphing day had of the Spanyards" and again in 1988 to mark the 400th anniversary of that day. In 1715 the first "True Peal" was rung here by Norwich Scholars, the predecessors of our present band of ringers. The tenor bell of the ring of twelve weighs over 37 cwt.

The St Anne Chapel - This chapel was once the meeting place of the women of the parish who belonged to the medieval Guild of St Anne. Above the Altar can be seen a window made by H. Hendrie in 1921 and placed there in memory of the men and women who died in the 1914 -18 war.

Octagon

The Octagon is situated in the south-east churchyard and provides light refreshments from Monday to Friday, 10am until 3pm, served by "Peter's People", our volunteer helpers.

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