Back Lane, Blakeney, Holt, Norfolk, NR25 7NP
A small, simple building of 1962 with a vernacular internal character, enlivened by the colourful stained glass of parishioners Paul and Jane Quail.
Blakeney was part of the Revd H. W. Gray’s huge Fakenham parish, and after World War I he was determined to build new missions in small towns such as Blakeney, which had large summer populations. In 1927 an advertisement appeared in The Tablet announcing that a ‘valuable site’ in a ‘unique position’ had been obtained for the erection of a church dedicated to St Joseph. The precise location has not established, but in any event fundraising efforts were not sufficient. The present church, dedicated to St Peter, was built in 1962 on the site of a carpenter’s workshop. Designed by Wearing & Hastings, it is smaller and has a more rustic character than their other churches, possibly reflecting the building it replaced. Its interior has been much enhanced with stained glass by parishioners Paul and Jane Quail, added from c.1990, as well as ceramics by local artists.
The church actually stands north-south by the compass, but liturgical points will be used in this account, i.e. the altar at the east.
A rectangular church with flat-roofed east and west adjuncts. The internal walls appear to be made of solid flint rubble below the wall-top windows, but the exterior face is clearly a flint skin on a brick core. The sacristy at the east and the west narthex with WC are of red brick laid in stretcher bond, the latter with a flint facing on the north side of the central double planked door. The north door is now the usual entrance, leading past a WC to a narthex also used for serving coffee after Mass. The church has a pitched pantiled roof, while the flat roofs of the narthex and sacristy are felted. Both gables are covered with large irregular horizontal planks of dark timber and the metal gable cross typical of Wearing & Hastings churches is here at the east end, probably because there is a large west window. The dark stained timber windows run continuously at eaves level on the south (road) side of the church, but there are three square windows in brick frames with reeded glass on the north. The large west window fills the gable above the narthex roof and is divided into five equal lights by wood mullions. It is protected externally by green rigid netting.
The interior has an agricultural character, with unplastered rubble walls of flint and random red bricks, two large scissor trusses and much dark timber in the roof. There is also a dark stained timber plank ‘cornice’, to which the original lighting was fixed. The stained glass, especially the west window softens the light. It is by the husband and wife artists Paul (d.2010) and Jane Quail, parishioners who lived in Holt; some are memorial windows. The door to the left of the altar leads to the sacristy, the door to the right to the former confessional, now used for storage. The altar continues the rusticity and the link to the carpenter’s workshop as its plank top is supported on four lengths of tree trunk. There are two different types of bench, most of one type reportedly coming from a Nonconformist chapel, the ends retaining marks where the seat numbers and umbrella/stick restraints were fixed.
Architect: Wearing & Hastings
Original Date: 1962
Conservation Area: No
Listed Grade: Not Listed