According to Munro Caughtly who visited the church in the 1940s, it was in a terrible state, covered with ivy and going to rack and ruin. Like most of our leased churches, it was Lady Harrod who rode to the rescue and the church came into the care of the Norfolk Churches Trust in April 1978.
Its origins are probably Norman with a 14th Century chancel and nave window. The rest of the church is 15th century with a porch which was rebuilt in the 19th century. The rood loft is modern and can actually be accessed by the mediaeval rood stair. The stained glass in the east window commemorates Clement Felton, Chairman of the Guardians of the Poor of Walsingham Union. The nave south window has some splendid peacocks. The memorials range from one relating to Major William Case who fell at the Siege of Lucknow in 1857 to a ledger stone relating to a Matthew Lancaster who died in 1658 and who claimed descent from John Lancaster ‘ye first of Ye race in England and first founder of Lancaster castle’.
Today the church is full of light and sits in an enchanting graveyard, which, according to Simon Knott, is worth visiting in the spring when the flowers are coming out.
The church is well cared for and still used quite frequently for services.
St Peter’s can be found at NR21 7PG. It is open during daylight hours, and the Keyholder can be contacted on 01328 853226.
Finding peace at St Peter’s Dunton amidst the chaos of the pandemic
Listen to the Revd Robin Stapleford, Rector of the Upper Wensum group of parishes, which includes Dunton, singing “Be still my soul” from the church.