Everleigh, St Peter's Church
Everleigh, St Peter's Church
Most early 19th-century churches would not be thought of as architecturally important, but St Peter's breaks that mould. It was designed in 1813 by John Morlidge of London for Francis Dugdale Astley and was one of the first church buildings to be constructed with an iron frame.

The design is early Gothic Revival, with a narrow nave punctuated by a short chancel, and overlooked by a west gallery which originally held a barrel organ. The combination of a short chancel and narrow nave seems to have been designed to emphasise the height of the building. The roof is in a mock-Gothic hammerbeam style.

The interior features several fine monuments to the Astley family, including that of the founder, Francis Astley, who died in 1818, just a few years after the building was finished.

One feature surviving from the medieval church is a Norman font, set on a later shaft and base. The font bowl is carved with scallop symbols and inverted V shapes.

One interesting note in the parish record that in 1766 Richard Chandler of Gloucestershire was killed by falling off 'the Bristol Machine' between East and West Everly (Everleigh). I can only assume that the 'Machine' was a coach from Bristol, and poor Mr Chandler fell off and died of his injuries.

Everleigh had a church as early as the 13th century when it was owned by Wherwell Abbey in Hampshire. The abbey held the advowson of Everleigh until it was suppressed by Henry VIII, at which point it was granted to Richard Wriothesley. The 13th-century church was torn down in 1814, and the new church built about a half mile away.

The church is built of Bath stone, with a nave, chancel, south chapel, south porch, and west tower. The tower holds a ring of 6 bells, cast at the foundry in Aldbourne.

The church is not in regular use and is cared for by the Churches Conservation Trust. It is normally open daily to visitors.

Some satnavs may have trouble finding the correct location for the church (ours certainly did!). St Peter's is located near the old rectory just beyond the western edge of Everleigh village, on the south side of the A342.