St. Peter's Church (interior)

THE interior of St. Peter’s Church presents one of the most picturesque sights in Nottingham, and a knowledge of the history of the building adds romantic interest to its enjoyment.

It is believed that the present church was founded almost immediately after the Conquest to provide accommodation for a portion of Peveril’s French castle-guard and their dependants who had settled in a new town which sprang up round Nottingham Castle. Certain of the stones in the south arcade bear Norman tool marks, and these are believed to be a part of the original church of Peveril’s time.

In 1141 they must have witnessed an awful tragedy. The country was in a turmoil owing to the warfare betwixt King Stephen and the Empress Matilda. Nottingham Castle was held for the King and was assaulted by the Earl of Gloucester on behalf of Matilda. His assault on the Castle failed, but he succeeded in breaking into the town and his ruffianly followers ran amok, subjecting the wretched townsfolk to all sorts of tortures in their search for loot.

In their misery many of these unfortunates took refuge in their parish churches, trusting to the sanctity of the buildings to save them. But Gloucester’s wretches were too far gone to have any respect for such usages, and pursuing their victims even into the churches, slaughtered them within the sacred precincts.

These Norman stones were standing in 1114, and mayhap they were splashed with the blood of these unfortunate townspeople.

Later on, the church was enlarged, and the beautiful early English arches shown in the photograph were pierced through the Norman wall about the time that King John signed Magna Charta.

It would be hard to find a place in Nottingham more beautiful and more replete with memories than is St. Peter’s Church.