NOTES ON PARISH CHURCH OF WESTLEIGH BY RICHARD KERR
In 1280 occurs the first reference to a church in this Parish, though undoubtedly there it had been standing for some time then. The reference is question occurs in Bishop’s Registers, and refers to a case of “Sanctuary” having been sought in the church of St Meodam Westleigh.
The original church would have been small, and from the very definite early English character of the windows, and small priest door in the sanctuary, there is little doubt that this is this original building.
The nave, north aisle, tower, and South chapel date from 14th century.
In the east window though the glass is modern, the stone tracery is the original 14th century tracery.
There is a very fine hammer beam roof, about the same date.
Font is twelth century, and must have stood in the original church.
Bench ends, some of them very fine about 16th century.
Church Plate Flagon 1702, Paten 1714, Chalice 1713
Church Chest Elizabethan, or earlier, the four locks give a clue to its date; as at that time period each of the four synodsmen (modern sidesmen) had charge of one key.
A fine old door handle, probably local work, is to be seen on the West door.
In 1745 the furniture of the church, is detailed, in addition to the church plate there was:
One pewter bason for to Collect the offerings.
One broadcloth carpet for the Communion table.
One fine linen cloth and napkin.
One large bible.
Two large common prayer books, one book of homilies, one book of cannon.
One pulpit cushion.
One bear cloth.
Bells There are now six bells in the tower, and as early as 1553 there were four. In 1867 of these four bells still there, two were then at least four hundred years, and the other two were dated respective 1694 and 1740.
These four bells, had rung, (see Churchwardens account book) to celebrate the thanksgiving for the end of the seven years war in 1763.
The victory at Aboukir bay 1799.
St Vincent 1763, and also rang a muffled peal for the victory at Trafalgar in 1805.
The church is now dedicated to St Peter, and until recently was dedicated to both St Petr and St Petrock. An ancient well across the road below the church was known as Petrock’s well (now called St Peters well).
There arc some fine old tiles which when the church was last restored were laid as borders to the old tombstones in the aisles.
The tombstones in question are very old, some of the dating from the early 17th century, and at least one from the 16th century.
The Registers, are in good preservation, and date from 1561.
This very ancient building, standing on the two sides of the West gate probably dates back as the original church, and may have been an early chapel.
In the church house there is an old cello bought for £2 in 1826, which was used in the church till the organ was put in.
List of vicars are in the church.