HISTORICAL FACTS ABOUT ST. PETERS
A FORMER ROOF LOFT: A glance at the Chancel arch shows a straight
piece of work about six feet above the capitals of the piers before the arch
begins. This was so designed to accommodate the once magnificent Roof-loft of
the 13th century. The Roof-loft was large enough to include an altar, and the piscina
can still be seen in the South wall of the Nave, a rare feature.
MOTHER OF A FUTURE KING: Margaret of Lancaster, Countess of Richmond and Derby, and mother of Henry VII, owned and resided occasionally at the manor house in Maxey, formerly 'Maxey Castle', now Castle Farm. She was born in Bletsoe and Maxey Castle was part of the Deepings Estates owned by her father and mother, John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset and Margaret Beauchamp of Bletsoe. Records show that she would have a priest travel from Crowland Abbey to service her needs when in residence at the castle and that the family had a private chapel in Castle End road. Countess Margaret is shown below. On the death of her mother in 1482 the castle became the property of Margaret and she used it as the administrative centre for all her Lincolnshire properties.(p127 of The King's Mother)
VICARS OF MAXEY: The Vicars of Maxey can be traced back to 1220A.D., but there are reasons to believe that the first Vicar was instituted in 1191.A.D. Two former Vicars are buried in the Sanctuary, Edmund Gibbs in 1701, and Robert Bates in 1771. The Reverend Charles Cookson (1850-81) was a man of considerable private wealth, and he was responsible for much of the interior decoration and alteration during his time as incumbent.
THE ALTAR: The Altar is an oak table, and scribbled underneath it in pencil is 'John Francis Hardy made this table in December 1826'.
THE PULPIT AND CHOIR STALLS: The pulpit and choir stalls were placed in the church in 1892.
THE SWEETING MUSEUM: The small museum under the Tower was compiled by the Reverend W. D. Sweeting, Vicar of Maxey 1881-1901, who did much of the local historical research. It contains several interesting items that were used, or found, in the parish and elsewhere.
THE CHURCH FONTS: At the East end of the South Aisle is preserved the stone font of the Restoration period, dated around 1660. The present font, under the bell tower, was the gift of Canon and Mrs Argles in the 1870's, and in 1892 they gave the oak cover. This gift was in memory of Bishop Davys, Bishop of Peterborough, (1839-64). Canon Argles was Dean of Peterborough (1891-93).
THE ORGAN: The two manual organ was built by Messrs. Morton and Moody of Oakham, and installed in the church and then dedicated on Monday Feb 19th 1912. It cost £305, of which £122.10s.0d. came from the Andrew Carnegie Trust.
STAINED GLASS: There is very little stained glass in the church. The oldest glass is in the East Window of the South Aisle. Behind the south side vicar's stall is a memorial window to Rifleman Gerard Talbot Sweeting (youngest son of a former Vicar), of the 9th County of London Regiment (Queen Victoria Rifles), who was killed on 14th March, 1915, at St. Ives, Belgium. It shows St. Michael and St. Gabriel. The three windows in the North Aisle contain six of our Lord's Beatitudes.
LIGHTNING STRIKE: The church was struck by lightning on the Feast of the Transfiguration (6th August) 1972, causing damage to the Tower and South Aisle roof. Hence the new stonework on the South East battlements of the Tower.
THE BELLS: In 1662 there were three bells. The bells were the 3rd, 4th and 6th made by Thomas Norris in 1661. The 2nd and the 5th, made by Thomas Osborn of Downham Market were added in 1800. They continued to ring only five bells until 1853 when the treble was purchased by subscription. The ring was then re-hung and tuned. In January 1888 the bells were thoroughly repaired and tuned by W.A.Tyler from Taylor's foundry in Loughborough. They were rung for the first time after tuning on Thursday, 9th February, 1888 when the Maxey ringers were joined by others from Peterborough, Glinton, Market Deeping and Witham on the Hill.
RESTORATION COMPLETED IN 1864: The church was reopened after a major
restoration project at a service on 18th Aug 1864. The cost of the restoration
work was about £800, of which £200 was provided by the then Vicar, Rev. Charles
Cookson. The details of the restoration were supplied by Mr. Sykes of Milton and
carried out by a team of craftsmen under the leadership of Mr. Shelton the
The principle improvements were the taking off of the North and South Aisle roofs and the taking off of the Chancel roof, all of which were badly decayed. These were replaced with new varnished deal roofs. The whole of the unsightly box pews were removed and replaced with new stained and varnished low pews. Several early poppy head bench ends were preserved and these were copied for several other seat ends by Mr J. N. Webster, carpenter. A plan of the pew installation is on show in the tower area.
The old singing gallery which blocked up the beautiful Norman tower arch was taken down and the arch and pillars restored.
The lath and plaster partition to the Vestry was taken down and replaced with an oak screen.
The old baluster altar rail was replaced with very chaste wrought iron altar rails of a medieval pattern, manufactured locally at a forge in Glinton. The floor within the altar rails was laid with Maw's encaustic tiles.