The Beginnings

We can be sure that there was a church on the site of St Peter & St Paul from at least the 13th century. Records show, for example, that the Bishop preached at Northleach on Passion Sunday, 1287, taking Hebrews ix, verse 13 as his text. Despite this, our knowledge of the form of the church before the 15th century is incomplete.

The oldest surviving part of the church is the chancel. Although much modified since it was first constructed, the walls, the steeply pitched roof and the sacristy doorway all date from the 14th century.

The next oldest part of the church is the tower. Built before 1400, it stands 100 feet high with solid buttresses at each corner. From inside looking up, you see a beautifully groined vaulted ceiling with a central hole through which bells were raised into the bell chamber above.

Lower down, there are lines on the tower walls that show where an intermediate floor was installed and, above this, a mass of inscribed graffiti.

The Tower

We know that there was a gallery here in the 18th and 19th centuries, but it may have been present from a much earlier time. The graffiti attests to the use of the gallery as a school room.
It seems clear that the tower and the chancel were joined by a nave but, other than the line of a steep earlier roof on the east wall of the tower, we know nothing of how this would have looked in the 14th century.
The final legacy of the 14<sup>th</sup> century is the elaborate stone font, which sits under a modern wooden cover in the south aisle. The carvings underneath the bowl show angels playing musical instruments, while devils are being crushed at the base.

The Font