Earley St Peter

Earley St Peter Church

Photo by Chad Hanna in 1995

The foundation stone of St Peter’s was laid on 20th April 1843 and the church consecrated on 14th May 1844 by the Right Rev. Hugh Percy, Bishop of Carlisle, the Bishop of Oxford being unwell. Viscount Sidmouth gave the land and his late wife provided the endowment for the minister in a codicil to her will.

St Peter’s was the second daughter church of Sonning St Andrew, the first being Dunsden All Saints in 1842 and the third, Woodley St John the Evangelist in 1873. Each church was established on one of the liberties of Sonning parish. St Peter’s became a parish in its own right in 1854 with its own set of parish registers.

The parish eventually had two daughter churches of its own, Earley St Bartholomew’s in 1879 and Earley St Nicolas in 1947. Earley St Peter’s can be found on Church Road, Earley, RG6 1EY at OS Grid ref SU746721.

The 76 ft tower contains a clock commemorating the jubilee of Queen Victoria and a carillon of bells.

Churchyard

The churchyard was extended in 1902 and the first burial at a new burial ground at May’s Lane took place in 1936. The current grave register for St Peter’s only records who is buried in which plot since 1922 after an earlier register was lost. Although plots have been found at Earley St Peter’s since 1936 for the burial of some noted individuals and the interment of ashes for many, most burials have been at May’s Lane Burial Ground (managed by the Earley Town Council). The Berkshire Family History Society have recorded, but not published (due to the lack of an accurate map), the inscriptions for Earley St Peter’s and published the inscriptions of Earley May’s Lane recorded by Lesley and Chad Hanna. The churchyard contains about 1,000 memorials. The burials between 1854 and 1916 are included in the Berkshire FHS publication The Berkshire Burial Index (check the bookshop for latest details).

Parish Registers

Lesley Hanna transcribed the baptism, marriage and burial registers that took place at Earley St Peter’s between 1844 and about 1909 using the Sonning St Andrew registers for the first decade. Berkshire Family History Society holds a copy of this transcription in their Research Centre library.

For more information on the church see the booklet:

The Story of Earley St. Peter’s by Lesley Hanna with Chad Hanna published by the parochial church council in 1994 for the 150th anniversary.

The Church has its own web site at www.earley-stpeter.org.uk

www.imagesofengland.org.uk (IoE number 41434)

Reviewed 26 Feb 2012

Additional information