The original Saxson Preaching Cross outside the ChurchThe original Saxon Preaching cross outside the Church

St. Peters Church 
Conisbrough, South Yorkshire

The official website of South Yorkshire's Oldest Building

 

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Foreword
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The Church is built
Stonework pre 1200
First Alteration
The first Extension
Extensions 1450 ad
Extensions 1450 p 2
Features 1475
Refurbishments
 20th Century
Early Tombs

Church Photos

Church Windows
Church Photos 2
Slide Presentation 1
Slide Presentation 2
From The Roof
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History page 1
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St Peters Conisbrough  

 

The Church is Built

" Conyngsburgh was a setlement at the time of the Roman occupation "

 

The Roman Commander of York Garrison, Gaius Flavius Constantinius and his wife Helen were both Christians. Gaius died in 306 ad. at which time , his son, Flavius Valerius Aurilius Constantinius became Commander. In the year 324 ad he became Emperor [ Constantine ] of Rome whilst still at York. His mother became Queen Helen. Helen convinced her son who was not a Christian at the time to decree that Christianity be the religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine was baptized into the Christian faith in 337 ad after having the first doctrines of the Church formulated at the ' Council of Nicea in 325 ad [ The Nicene Creed ]

 

 

The Preaching Cross

The preaching cross [ photo left ] outside the Church is believed to originate from circa 335 ad.

 

Romano-Brit  Carving

Also now inside the entrance porch is a " Romano-British relief carving. This is variously described by Archeologist as depicting:-

1 ] St Peter holding the keys to the gates of Heaven

2 ] The Madonna and child.

 

 

These things show historically that Christianity was a part of the life of the inhabitants in Yorkshire some 300 years before St Columba and St. Aidan " Christianised ' the area. Roman soldiers and local inhabitants are believed to have worshipped at " Strafford Sands" a river ford on the River Don, below Conisbrough.

The Preaching cross is believed to have served as a meeting point for Christian gatherings until around 540ad, when the first wooden Church is said to have been built on the same site.

It was officially accepted in 1982 that St. Peters Church was the oldest building in South Yorkshire, with a date of 740 to 750ad.

 Historians and Archeologist are working to prove that it was in fact built circa  670 / 680ad., this would date it with Bishop Biscups Church Northumberland [ dated 674ad. ] and the Church at Ledsham North Yorkshire.

Given a date of 740 / 750ad, this would coincide with the writing of " The Book of Kells' and 30 years prior to the construction of Offa's Dyke. and would be five or ten years later than St. Aiden used Lindisfarne as a base from which to reconvert Northumbria, which had lapsed back into paganism about 633 ad.

Yet another secular indication that Christianity flourished in the area 300 to 600ad.

 

The Church

Original Structure

A Entrance Porch B Porticus C Nave D Lateral Chamber E Chancel

 

From the sketches above it can be seen that the Church was symmetrical about an east west axis, with the exception of the south facing entrance door. The building consisted of a two storey entrance porch, the Nave, a north and south Porticus, with lateral chambers adjacent, and a small Chancel and Chancel Arch.

Conisbrough 800 ad

The photograph below was taken with the kind permission of Conisbrough Castle Visitors Centre, and depicts the Village of Conisbrough circa 800 ad.
Photo by kind permission of Conisbrough Castle Visitors Centre
The Roof as depicted in the model is more in keeping with the times than the sketch above. Note that the Chancel is missing from the model, but there is no doubt that a Chancel was present at this time.

 

 

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All content unless stated otherwise Šopyright Parish Council of St. Peters.

Formatting and transcription on this site Šopyright John Doxey.