Claydon, St Peter's Church (c) Bob Jones
Claydon, St Peter's Church

St Peter's Church, Claydon, Suffolk, is an ancient church that may date to the Saxon period, with a Perpendicular tower. Though the origins of St Peter's are ancient, the real interest here is Victorian, the result of a major rebuilding beginning in 1851 under the direction of Claydon's rector, George Drury.

Religious Controversy

Drury was about as controversial as a rector could get in the Victorian period without getting thrown out of the Church of England entirely. His High Church views were branded as Papist by his enemies.

He started a convent at Claydon that aroused so much local ire that a mob broke in and essentially kidnapped one of the nuns. His handling of a non-Conformist burial at nearby Akenham caused a national outcry and resulted in a change to the Burial laws.

What to See

But back to the church! Drury hired architect RM Phipson to execute his vision of a fabulous new church, alive with colour and high-quality craftsmanship. The detail of carving and stained glass is everywhere of the highest quality.

Drury himself did more than oversee the work; he was an accomplished woodcarver and may have made the pews himself; he certainly made the astonishing pulpit. This remarkable structure is exquisitely carved and looks more like lace than wood. Drury was also responsible for the richly coloured, vibrant stained glass.

Sadly, St Peter's is no longer used for regular worship and is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.