Joining the congregation at St Peter's Church

“We didn’t often go to church as children. Perhaps my mother, as the daughter of a vicar herself, had had her fill of churchgoing as a child! But when we actually went (mainly at Christmas and Easter) we joined the congregation at St Peter’s, beside Preston Manor and Preston Park, even though it was over a mile from where we lived in Withdean.

Reverend Vernon Kyrke
The Vicar, the Rev Vernon Kyrke, was a portly Irishman who conducted the services (as every Anglican church did in those days) according to the 1662 Prayer Book.  The normal Sunday morning service, at 11 o’clock, was Mattins with hymns and a sermon.  The church always seemed full when we went. Once Mr Kyrke actually visited us and tried to recruit me to the Choir and the Wolf Cubs, but happily went away again after a cup of tea and a piece of cake!

Walking through the churchyard
The churchyard was familiar to us as we went through it on walks from school. The memorial to a young woman who had been murdered in the previous century in Lover’s Walk was an ‘attraction’, but the situation beside the park and especially the Manor, was beautiful. And there was the added attraction of the graves or memorials to people we had actually known!

Maundy Thursday at St John’s Church
When I went through a religious phase as a young teenager, I once attended early communion on Maundy Thursday at St John’s in Knoyle Road. This was a more modern and extremely cold church, presided over by Rev Riddle M Raper. The congregation numbered four (average age about seventy) and I didn’t go back.”

Comments about this page

  • I was married in this church by the Rev Kyrke in 1964. Because the church was only open once a month we had to go to Evensong (to hear the banns called) at St John’s in Knoyle Road. Shortly before we were due to be married vandals broke into St Peter’s and desecrated the church walls so the church had to be re-consecrated before we could be married. Sadly the marriage didn’t last—so maybe it was an omen?

    By Kathy Nichols (28/02/2006)
  • My parents were married in St Peter’s. I was baptised in St Peter’s. During the 1940s, as pupils at Preston Primary School, we used to go to this church to celebrate the various church festivals. Finally, my sister was married at St Peter’s in 1964.

    By Raymond (Dickie) Bird (21/03/2006)
  • We were married at St Peter’s in 1957 by the Rev Raper.

    By Enid and Dave Blackford (26/11/2006)
  • My parents, Pat and Peter Adams were married on the 2nd of June 1951 so this year is their 60th anniversary. If anyone has any information about this church from that days I would appreciate it.

    By James Adams (26/04/2011)

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