Needham St Peter
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St Peters church is located in Needham, a Norfolk village just to the south of the A143, and about 2 miles southwest of Harleston.
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Visiting Needham St Peter
St Peter’s church in Needham seems to be permanently locked now – at least according to the current information on the parish website. That means it will probably be impossible to see the interior of this church in the future. We were lucky insofar as it was open on one of the occasions we visited it.
There is much brick, of different ages, to be seen in this Church. The 13th century south nave is now rendered, and has 15th century windows, but the south porch is red brick, built in the early 16th century. It has a stepped gable with a short pillar either side, all in brick. The moulded bricks have quatrefoils round the entrance arch, in the base course and below the gable. There are trefoiled bands round the pillars. The circular part of the flint tower had four triangular-headed openings, (two are now blocked, one of which had been enlarged), framed with brick, near its top. This was the 14th century belfry, but in the 15th century a new octagonal belfry was added, on top of a stone string course. This belfry has much Tudor brick in its quoins, framing the belfry openings, and in their mullions. The parapet has a different 19th century red brick. There is also a flint, rounded stair turret on the south side, against the nave, added late 15th or 16th century. The chancel was rebuilt in red brick in 1735, with windows of 1884.
The nave roof has arch braces, with later tie beams going across. These beams are more carved nearer the east end. The 15th century lion font has seated lions round the stem, and the bowl has the symbols of the Evangelist alternating with Tudor roses. These double roses indicate that the font dates from after 1485. The Evangelists’s symbols are the winged man (Matthew), the winged lion (Mark), the winged bull (Luke) and the eagle (John).
The pews have re-used 15th century bench ends with fleurons, and there are also two traceried bench ends. The backs of the pews have later woodwork, re-used from an old chest, and an old screen with the text “Use wel thy tyme for dethe is comyng M : The sentence of God All mighty is everlasting E” (M E may be the initials of the donor).