A Brief Guide
A Guide to St. Peter's Hale
With grateful acknowledgements to Mr Geoffrey Wheeler, Author of St Peter's Centenary 1892-1992 and the late Miss Ada Pearce, who devoted her life to St. Peter's Church and Sunday School.
Welcome to St Peter’s. We hope that you enjoy your visit, whether virtual, or in person.
St. Peter's was dedicated on 16 June, 1892. It is an unspoilt example of late Victorian church building.
The four-faced clock in the tower was given to the church by Sarah Ann Whitehead in October, 1912.
The spire has a weather-vane in the form of a fish; not only a symbol of our Patron Saint but also a sign used by the Early Christian Church.
Glass and oak doors lead from each porch into the church itself.
Circular brick columns help support the "open" roof. From the fascinating construction of beams and rafters hang six Art Nouveau brass chandeliers.
Those interested in Victorian artefacts will find much of note, not least the tiled floor of the Sanctuary, the wrought iron grid running the length of the central aisle and all the door 'furnishings.'
The church has wood-block floors, and, instead of pews there are chairs, each of which has a hassock worked by members of the congregation in one of severaldesigns — symbolising St. Peter; the Cockerel, the Fishes, the Keys of the Kingdom and the Prison Bars and Chains. These signs are also featured on the small gates leading to the Vicarage, the Garden of Remembrance (to the west of the church), and the two gates to the grounds.
About half way up the aisle are the two Churchwardens' chairs and their staves of office, one of these is tipped by a crown representing the State and the other by a mitre representing the Church. The Verger's stall is in the south west comer and her staff or "Verge" can be seen there.
The central aisle leads to the Chancel steps, at the foot of them are, to the left the Pulpit, behind which hangs the crazier of the late Bishop Tom Greenwood of Yukon, who was the Vicar here from 1940-1945.
(One of the trees outside the south-west door is a Canadian maple planted in his memory)
To the right is the Lectern, of interest because the Bible is supported by the wings of an Angel instead of those of the more usual Eagle.
The Chancel contains the Clergy and Choir stalls backed by fine oak panelling, decorated with carvings of symbols of St Peter.
The organ against the North wall was rebuilt by Charles and Smethurst of Manchester in 1964.
"...it has two manuals of sixty-one notes, a pedal organ of thirty notes...twenty-nine speaking stops and twenty-nine thumb and toe pistons...the action is electropneumatic...".
The reredos and walls of the Sanctuary are, like the Pulpit. Font and Baptistry walls, made of rose-coloured, veined alabaster. Gothic in style, the reredos is carved in a chequered pattern and decorated with mosaics depicting - in the centre a golden Cross, on either side of which are panels showing plants mentioned in the Gospels. In niches to left and right are statues of S.S. Peter and John. The altar table is of carved and painted wood, a fine specimen of the influence of The Arts and Crafts Movement. (You may find it covered by a linen cloth and frontal—this will be in the appropriate liturgical colour for the season.).
A Book of Remembrance is kept on a small desk in the north-west comer of the church. It contains the names of all those whose ashes are buried in the church gardens. The pages are turned to keep with the calendar and it is always decorated with flowers.
On the side walls of the Baptistry are the beautiful murals which form the 1914-1918 War Memorial.
By the same artist as the clerestory windows, W.J. Pearce, they consist of "...poignant illustrations… which are the setting for the names of the Fallen...".
At the base of the Font are inscribed the names of those members of St. Peter's who gave their lives in the War of 1939-1945.