St Peter's Church

Moulton which has been a centre of Christian worship for over eight hundred years.

The parish church is dedicated to St. Peter as can be deduced from the unusual weathervane on the tower in the form of a large fish.

The church stands to the south of the village and its impressive situation gives it a commanding position overlooking the river valley and surrounding countryside.

There was a church here in Norman times and the extent of the Norman nave can be seen in the exterior walls where the stone shaft marking its four corners can be seen in the east and west walls of the north and south aisles.

Over the centuries the church has been extended reflecting different architectural styles. Only a little of the 12th century stonework remains. The tower dates from the early 14th century, the Decorated period of English architecture. The clerestory, aisles and chancel, were built during the late 15th and early 16th centuries, at the height of the Perpendicular period. In 1851 the whole building was thoroughly restored for £2000, of which a large part was given by the Rector, the Reverend Edwin Mortlock. The tower clock was given in his memory in 1879. During this restoration much of the external stonework was renewed and the interior was refurnished. The south porch was also built in the nineteenth century.

Outside the church, to the north of the tower can be seen the remains of a small annexe, which may have been an anchorites cell, and which had a doorway into the west wall of the north aisle of the church. In the churchyard on the south side of the church are several eighteenth century headstones.

Inside, the church is lofty, light and spacious. Although most of the furnishings date from the mid-19th century, the fabric is mediaeval and incorporates some very noteworthy features.

The beauty of the interior is greatly enhanced by the impressive arcades. These are in Perpendicular style. Above each of the nave arcades is an embattled stone cornice which is studded with fleurons and heads and angel corbels. The single hammer-beam roof of the nave and chancel incorporates many mediaeval timbers.

To the north of the chancel arch can be seen the upper entrance to the rood loft stairs. The lower entrance is in the south-east angle of the north chapel. Beside it can be seen the pedestal which supported the piscina for use at the mediaeval altar which stood there.

The front stalls on both sides of the chancel incorporate four mediaeval poppyhead bench ends. These have animal armrests, which include a unicorn and a rabbit. In the south wall of the sanctuary is a splendid priscina with the original credence shelf.

The floor of the sanctuary is a considerable height above the level of the nave floor and, during the 1850s, a crypt was discovered beneath it containing the remains of several coffins.

In the sanctuary floor are two matching slabs with brasses. These commemorate the Reverend Mortlock and his sister Mary Ann. In the chancel floor are two ledger slabs, both with Latin inscriptions. They commemorate John Gee (died 1729) and Edward Wilson (died 1823)

An earlier ledger slab can be seen in the north chapel floor, on the north side of the altar, commemorating Wixstead Weld, who died in 1699. This chapel is now a War Memorial Chapel.

The font is octagonal and the stonework has either been renewed or re-cut. On the panels of the bowl can be seen shields displaying the emblems of the Passion. The font is crowned by a sixteenth century wooden cover.

The organ was purchased in 1882 at a cost of £225. The tower contains a peal of five bells, all cast by Chapman and Mears of London, between 1782 and 1784. The tenor bell weighs 6cwt.

At the west end of the south aisle, in the vestry, is a very ancient piece of carved stone depicting two sculptured figures. These ancient fertility symbols are the oldest feature inside the church.

The Rectors of this church have been traced back as far as John de Muleton, in the early thirteenth century and Adam de Sancto Edmundo who was instituted in 1232. The Registers of the church date back to the year 1560.

Today the church is part of the Benefice of Dalham, Gazeley, Higham, Kentford and Moulton.