St Pega, Peakirk, Northamptonshire
- Site Location
- National Grid Reference
- TF 168 067
Northamptonshire; Soke of Peterborough, i.e Northants to 1965
; Huntingdonshire 1965-74
Lincoln to 1539
now (or name of monument): St Pega
- Type of building/monument
- Parish church
II General Description
St Pega's has a clerestoreyed nave with N and S aisles and W bell-cote, and a chancel with N chapel and vestry which together extend the N aisle to the E wall as the chancel. The nave is tall and narrow, with long-and-short quoins at the SW angle which suggest an 11thc. date. The N arcade dates from the 12thc., and the S arcade from the 13thc. The N chapel arch and the chancel arch are later 12thc, the latter perhaps in its lower parts only. The exterior is faced with ashlar blocks; regular in the S aisle, irregular elsewhere. Romanesque features are the nave doorways, the S elaborate and protected by a 14thc. porch, the N plain and unprotected; the N nave arcade, chancel arch and N chapel arch; the W bell-cote, and a loose capital now in the N aisle.
III Exterior Features
(i) Nave, S doorway
1st order: plain chamfered jambs with a tympanum supported on a pair of roll corbels. The tympanum is a single block with its main lunette decorated with three fans, one radiating from each lower angle and the 3rd filling the central sector. Fans are fluted with cusped outer edges. The lower border is chamfered and decorated with a row of sawtooth. Around the circumference of the lunette are two carved bands; the inner with quirked diagonal rolls, the outer with a row of beading.
2nd order: en-delit nook-shafts on worn torus bases, supporting capitals with chamfered neckings. The W capital is a double scallop with angle tucks and wedges between the scallops; the E is double-fluted with cusped shields defined by a groove. imposts have quirked hollow chamfers. In the arch is point-to-point chevron; single quirked rolls on face and soffit with pyramidal lozenges on the arris. Outside this is a row of lozenges, and the label and its returns are decorated with two rows of cusping.
|h of opening (ignoring later sill)||2.26 m|
|w of opening||1.07 m|
|diameter of tympanum||1.32 m|
|h of tympanum||0.66 m|
|thickness of tympanum||0.185 m|
(ii) Nave, N doorway
One order, round headed.
|h of opening||2.02 m|
|w of opening||1.015 m|
3. Exterior Decoration
A two-step gabled bell-cote, with a pair of round-headed openings below and a single opening above. All are chamfered with chamfered imposts projecting only into the arch. It is an addition to the wall below.
IV Interior Features
a. Chancel arch/Apse arches
(i) Chancel arch
The arch itself is 13thc., of two orders, pointed and chamfered. The moulded imposts belong with it. The responds below are 12thc. half-columns on damaged bases with only their grooved neckings surviving - presumably the original form was the same as the N chapel arch. The capitals are demi-cruciform with roll neckings. The N is decorated with a row of nebuly leaves with voluted tips, the volutes ball-shaped and the leaves outlined with a row of beading and with further lines of beading on their surfaces. In the notches between the lobes are pellets. This design is related to waterleaf, and the S capital is closer to a conventional multi-waterleaf type. Its leaves are pointed with tips curving inwards and terminating in small volutes. They are outlined with a row of beading.
(ii) Chancel, N chapel arch
Pointed. Half-column responds on low roll bases with a deep hollow and a grooved necking above. Capitals are demi-cruciform in plan with chamfered neckings and quirked hollow chamfered imposts. The E capital is multi-fluted with volutes at the angles, the flutes outlined by a groove. In each flute is a short vertical roll. The W capital is multi-scalloped with shields outlined by a groove and wedges between the scallops. The arch is of two orders to N and S; the 1st order is chamfered with a roll in the chamfer on the S face and a slender soffit roll. The 2nd order is plain and chamfered and there is a chamfered label.
(i) N arcade
Three bays, round-headed. The arcade is carried on cylindrical piers with half-column responds at either end. Capitals are multi-scalloped and cruciform, with chamfered neckings and quirked hollow chamfered imposts. The arch form is identical to that of the chapel arch: of two orders to N and S; the 1st order chamfered with a roll in the chamfer on the S face and a slender soffit roll; the 2nd order plain and chamfered with a chamfered label on either face.
E respond capital: multi-scallop with sheathed scallops.
Pier 2 capital: multi-scallop with sheathed, zigzag scallops.
VI Loose Sculpture
|w (main face)||0.36 m|
|max. d of block||0.40 m|
A confirmation of the grant of lands to Peterborough (Medeshamstede) by Wulfhere, king of Mercia, in 664 includes Peakirk, but this is generally thought to be a post-Conquest forgery. Like most of the Peterborough villages it does not appear in the Domesday Survey.
Benefice of Peakirk with Glinton and Northborough.
The dedication is unique. Pega was a sister of St Guthlac of Croyland and a member of the Mercian nobility who became an anchoress and died in 719 returning from a pilgrimage to Rome. The capital forms of the N arcade, including the zigzag scallops, also appear in the S arcade at nearby Maxey.
- N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, Harmondsworth 1968, 303-04.
- Victoria County History: Northamptonshire. II (1906).