St Peters church, located on Marefair -
Black Lion hill, was built around 1160 on the site of a
Saxon church. During the build, some of the Saxon
carvings were incorporated into this church. Simon de St.
Liz' grandson, Simon de Senlis |||, is thought to have
built this church. It is most noted for boasting some of
the finest Norman architecture in England. The
foundations of A Great Hall was unearthed next to St.
Peter's Church in Marefair. This is reputed to be the
home of a prince and was originally constructed of timber
around 750 AD. Around 70 years later it was rebuilt from
stone and made much larger. It was perhaps the first
municipal building in town.
Sir George Gilbert Scott restored the whole church in 1850, reconstructing most of the clerestory but leaving the Norman carvings well alone. St Peter's boasts a 14th century font, a 12th century grave slab with astonishingly clear relief carving and some fine Victorian stained glass.
Unfortunately, the church is redundant but still has permission to hold certain services a year as well as carry out the occasional baptism, marriage and burial. It is still cared for and maintained by the new owners, the Churches Conservation Trust and a group called the Friends of St. Peters.
Update:........After 10 years of closure it has officially been re-opened to visitors. A restoration project from fundraising and funds from the Churches Conservation Trust has enabled this deconsecrated heritage site to be used as a community resource. The restoration programme consisted of internal repairs which included the uncovering & unveiling of a finely decorated east chancel wall carried out in the mid 19C by architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, the cleaning of all marble monuments, a decorative mosaic and the 19th century wooden reredos, a decorative screen on the wall at the back of an altar.
William Smith, the father of Geology died in Northampton, and is buried in an unmarked grave a few feet from the west tower of St Peter's.