St Peter's Church, Forncett

St Peter is the parish church. It was originally built circa 1000 AD and the round tower remains from that date, while the main building is of later, mainly 14th and 15th century date. Notable features are: the Drake tomb, fine ledger slabs in the chancel and nave, the memorial to Dorothy Wordsworth’s cousin, good examples of Victorian coloured glass windows, a unique ancient staircase in the tower and the fine ring of six bells.

More details on the history can be obtained by reading the official church guide.

Building for the Future

Written by Ally Rae on behalf of the Friends Committee on .

web Emergency drainage Dec 2019 A Rae

Photo: Ally Rae - Temporary pipe-work to carry rainwater away from the building

Good news in our progress with the repairs to St Peter’s: the emergency work to make the church watertight was completed just before Christmas. This is a stop-gap to reposition slipped slates and manage the worst damage to lead work, gutters and down pipes. Additional temporary pipe work has been added to carry the rainwater away from the building until surface drains are repaired.

The main work, re-roofing and renovation, will only be possible when we have raised more money. To make a bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund we need to have raised about £25,000 (at least 5% of the total needed). A combination of donations, fund raising and grants from other bodies will help us reach this target.
The Diocesan Advisory Council will have visited the church by the time this is published to advise on the thorny issues of access to the site, especially during building works, and the possible location of a kitchen and toilet, all to be in keeping with the Grade 1 listed status of the church.

A Cheese and Wine party hosted by Sandy Barnes was our first social fund raising event. The maximum possible attendance at this was 40 and this number was easily reached. There was a veritable feast of different cheeses, dips, biscuits and fruit. We enjoyed wine and friendly conversation in a lovely setting. Thank you to our perfect hostess who was ably assisted by the younger generation, Chloe, Bradley, Lizz and Millie, who helped to sell raffle tickets and more importantly, to wash-up!

Funds were also raised by the sale of some beautiful Christmas cards designed by Sarah Allen who generously donated the proceeds to our steadily growing fund.

New ideas for events are always welcome. If you are able to help in any way please contact the church warden, Gilly Barnes –
We can never have enough friends! Becoming a Friend is free – your support is invaluable.

Help us save Forncett St Peter’s Church

Written by Administrator on .

Forncett St Peter Church Sept 2019 D Kirk
Photo: David Kirk

The Problems
This beautiful Grade 1 listed building has been central to life in the Forncetts since Saxon times. Now it is in desperate need of major repairs and renovations. Most important is the need to make the building watertight – extensive areas need re-roofing, failing lead work needs replacing and faulty gutters, down-pipes and surface drains need repair / replacement. Structural deterioration and cracking of external stone and flint-work has meant that areas of the churchyard have had to be cordoned off incase of falling masonry. Windows, cracked internal masonry, collapsing floor surfaces and areas of death-watch beetle all pose major challenges. The wonderful 15th century Drakes Tomb is suffering from cracking and discolouration. Once the structural work has been completed redecoration will be essential and the remarkable set of carved pew ends can be repaired.

Toilet and kitchen facilities are non-existent and the very limited heating means the church is too cold for services or community use during the winter. This is the ideal opportunity to provide these basic requirements, which will bring the church back into the centre of our life and improve it’s accessibility to visitors. We will be at pains to make changes sensitive to the historic importance of the building and its wonderful spirit of calm and peace.

The Plan
£450,000 is estimated as the combined cost of repairs and improvements. This is an eye-watering amount for a small village to raise.
The Friends of St Peter’s have been set up to spearhead the work, both of fund-raising and involving the local community.
We will be making grant applications including a major National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant (NLHF), as well as raising funds through Events, Donations and developing collaborations with other interest groups, such as Round Tower Churches Society.
A Just Giving campaign will also be started to appeal to potential supporters world-wide.


By mid 2020   NLHF Grant Expression of Interest to be submitted
    Enabling Works identified
    Community Audit to highlight how local people would like the building to be used in preparation
February 2020   Interviews for Project Architect
January 2020   Diocesan Advisory Committee team visit St Peter’s to discuss proposed works and contractor access
December 2019   Essential work to make the building watertight is underway.
Work underway to appoint an Architect to lead the technical aspects of the project.
November 2019   Norfolk Churches Trust awards grant of £1,000 for urgent repairs
 October 2019   Friends of St Peter’s Church is inaugurated [Link to article].
£1,125 raised as a result of the first meeting