Church of St Peters, Upwell

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The significant architectural features of the church building include the 13th century carved wooden angels, the 15th century stone font and the stained glass window installed in 1912. The church also has what is believed to be the largest coat of arms in Norfolk and a working set of bells in the tower, which are still played regularly.

Church of St Peters, Upwell

St Peter’s Church is largely of the Perpendicular style, and sits on the bank of the River Nene that winds between the straggling houses of the town. Constructed of Barnack stone and ragstone, the church has a soft and weathered feel, and the embattled walls and octagonal stage tower are unusual features in Norfolk.

The previous 13th century church, to which the tower was originally attached, actually sat on ground occupied by the current north aisle. The present nave was began adjacent in 1310, the old church demolished and redeveloped into the north aisle by the 1460s, at the height of Upwell’s mercantile prosperity. Restoration during the Victorian period was inevitable, leaving a largely 19th century interior, although Georgian galleries in the north aisle and west end of the nave survive, as does the gorgeous angel roof.

The church also contains one of the largest pulpits in Norfolk, as well as an octagonal Perpendicular style font and a 14th century East Anglian lectern. St Peter’s also has a stunning number of monuments. Inside are two early 15th century brasses of priests, as well as a touching brass inscribed ‘in memory of sixty seven individuals of various age and either sex who in the short period from June 21st to August 13th 1832 died in this rectory of Asiatic Cholera, a frightful and previously unknown disease in this country - Reader, why hast thou been spared? To what purpose hast thou been left until now?’

Outside in the churchyard are an almost intimidating number of 18th century headstones and monuments, of which no less than fifty-eight are listed by English Heritage.

A fragment of Roman pavement can be found in the churchyard. The present church building is large, elaborate and magnificent, with a 13th century north tower. The west wall of the nave is 14th century, with the rest of the nave, aisles, chancel and top of tower being of 15th to 16th century construction with remarkable roofs.

Slide to the right to see how it looked in the past!
Site Information
Opening Times:
Key available
Address:
15 Small Lode, Upwell, Wisbech, PE14 9BA, Norfolk
Visitor Information
Parking
Yes
Refreshments (nearby)
Yes
Features
Architecture
Atmosphere
Churchyard
Interior features
Stained glass
Nearby Attractions
Attraction 1:
Church of St Clements, Outwell
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0.74 Miles Away
A largely 14th century church containing a 13th century tower and nave west wall. The church underwent a thorough remodeling in the 15th and 16th century. Also included under this listing is an 18th century table tomb.
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Attraction 2:
Church of All Saints, Walsoken
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5.13 Miles Away
Described by Pevsner as ‘the grandest Norman Parish Church in Norfolk.’ Has Norman nave arcade, seven sacrament font, C15 wall painting and angel roof and medieval carved poppy head pew ends.
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Attraction 3:
Denver Sluice
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5.22 Miles Away
Denver Sluice: a fascinating and vitally important complex for water management across large parts of the surrounding Fens, situated as it is at the confluence of five watercourses.
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Attraction 4:
Downham Market Train Station
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6.04 Miles Away
Downham Market railway station is on the Fen line in the east of England.
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Attraction 5:
Discover Downham Heritage & Learning Centre
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6.35 Miles Away
Discover Downham is run by the Downham Market & District Heritage Society. The Society is operating as a ‘social enterprise’, in that it raises funds through donations, membership fees, admission fees to its talks and visits, hire of rooms, and through the sale of postcards and notelets depicting local scenes painted by one of its members.
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