St Peter’s Church is one of the most significant ecclesiastical buildings in North Lancashire. The building dates predominantly from the 14th and 15 centuries, with older remains and some mid-nineteenth century alterations by the renowned Lancaster architects Paley and Austin. The building contains some older relics, including a Viking Hog-Back stone. The building is Grade I listed.
There is evidence to suggest that there were previous places of worship on the same site. The original foundation of the church is from the 7th or 8th century. The construction of the current building was first recorded in 10AD, although the oldest part of the current building dates from circa 1340-1350. St Peter’s Church occupies a coastal location with an open outlook to Morecambe Bay, on the edge of the original historic village centre of Heysham. The building is located adjacent to St Patrick’s Head, where there are remains of a historic chapel lying alongside some rock graves.
In 2011, Harrison Pitt Architects undertook a quinquennial inspection of St Peter’s. At the time, it was noticed that the roof was leaking in a couple of places. This discovery led to further investigatory work which found that the slates on the roof were all loose. In 2012, further investigation work occurred to open up the roof to get a clear idea of what the problems were. This led to a period of intense fund-raising by the church and its congregation. A National Lottery application for funding proved fruitless, but the church carried on in their quest to raise money to replace and repair the roof. Harrison Pitt Architects, assisted by John Coward Architects and Donald Lomax & Partners Quantity Surveyors, prepared and made all the required applications to gain consent to carry out the repairs to the roof.
In late 2014, all the necessary permissions were in place and the church appointed William Anelays Ltd as the contractor with work to commence at the beginning of January 2015. The project saw the whole building covered in a protective tent, before the careful removal and inspection of the existing roof slates took place. The existing slate was re-used where possible, and a source of replacement slate was also identified.
The roof received a complete overhaul, including the insertion of new battens. The slate was then carefully re-hung using oak pegs as the hanging mechanism. Sections of the underside of the ceiling were re-plastered using lime plaster, and elements of the roof/wall junctions re-pointed using lime mortar. The project completed in the summer of 2015.