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All Saints, Wittering, Soke of Peterborough

(52°36′19″N, 0°26′31″W)
TF 056 020
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Soke of Peterborough
now Peterborough
  • Ron Baxter

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All Saints' has a nave with two-bay N aisle, a chancel with a N chapel (RAF chapel) and a N vestry off this, and a W tower with a broach spire. The form of the original church is seen in the long and short quoins at the E end of the chancel, and in the massive chancel arch. This is normally assumed to be Anglo-Saxon (eg by Pevsner) but may postdate the Conquest by a decade or so (see VIII below). The N aisle was added in the mid-12thc., the tower dates from the late 13thc., and the chapel to the early 14thc.. Construction is of Barnack limestone, irregularly cut and coursed. Features reported here are the chancel arch, N arcade and font.


A charter dated 664 confirms a grant of land at Wittering to Peterborough Abbey, but this is generally thought to be a post-Conquest forgery. No church was noted in 1086, when the manor of 9 hides was held by Ansketil of the Abbot of Peterborough.

Benefice of Ketton, Collyweston, Easton-on-the-Hill, Tinwell and Wittering.


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches






Taylor and Taylor were no more precise than Period C (950-1100) for the original building, including the chancel arch, but most commentators suggest a date between 1050 and 1100. Fernie, most recently in 2000, has insisted on an 11thc. date, arguing on the basis of comparisons with St Etienne at Caen and the proximity of the Barnack quarries that it may have been built as early as the 1040s or as late as 'two or three decades after the Conquest'. Less attention has been paid to the arcade, but it is by no means unproblematic. The inner order arch, with its heavy soffit roll, is alarmingly similar to the chancel arch, whereas the outer order, with sophisticated and very accurately cut chevron belongs to a different world of forms. The capitals clearly belong with the chevron. Either an 11thc. arcade has been remodelled in c. 1150, or if the work all belongs to the later date, the masons introduced a deliberate archaism. The form of the chevron has many local parallels (e.g. Stuntney, Kirtling - both Cambs) which presumably have their origins on the W transept of Ely Cathedral.


Victoria County History: Northamptonshire. II (1906), 540-41.

E. C. Fernie, The Architecture of Norman England. Oxford, 2000, 211-13.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough. Harmondsworth 1968, 367.

H. M. and J. Taylor, Anglo-Saxon Architecture. II, 1965, 678-80.