Holton St Peter
St Peters church is located in Holton, a village in Suffolk about a mile east of Halesworth.
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Visiting Holton St Peter
With many stone-framed slit openings, the tower of St Stephen’s in Holton dates back to the 12th century. The ground floor window is a 19th century insertion, but above it there are two round-headed slit windows in the next stage and three in the one above. Then comes a string course on which rest eight round-headed openings forming the first belfry, though nowadays every other one is blocked. In the 15th century the top of the tower was rebuilt, (there is red brick inside to below the string course), and a new belfry was added, with four wider openings, no longer with any tracery. The parapet has been rebuilt in modern brick. The stone inverted V on the east face is part of the original build, and was made to prevent water running down the tower into the nave by throwing it on to the thatched roof (higher pitched than the present red tiles). There used to be a 16th century red brick south aisle, but this was removed in 1856, and the nave wall was rebuilt. At the same time a north aisle was added, faced with black split flints. This aisle extends eastwards as far as the chancel’s east wall to provide for an organ chamber and vestry. The chancel’s east window is of intersecting Y tracery from about 1300, and its windows on the south wall were updated in the 15th century. The south porch is also 15th century, and there is a modern statue of St Peter in the niche above its entrance. Above the south door is a stone panel showing a carving of a griffin or dog.
The 15th century font stands near the door and has alternate Tudor (double) roses and shields around the bowl. There are heads and fleurons in the corona supporting the bowl and it stands on a stem with eight engaged columns. It has a wood repair on the rim where the lock has been broken off. The tower arch is now pointed, though the lower part of the jambs could still be the 12th century stone work, and the east wall of the tower curves into the nave. There is an upper doorway, which is not visible from the nave. At the east end of the north arcade is a stone head of a green man with his tongue out, and at the west end of the chancel arcade a lion’s head. The reredos behind the altar contains the centrepiece of the head of a continental processional cross, dated to about 1650. Its arms end in the symbols of the four evangelists, though Luke is shown as a man not a bull, with a winged man (Matthew), lion (Mark) and eagle (John). Thirteen stones were inserted in the cross in 1909 to remember the thirteen members of the Rector’s family, but some stones are now missing.