BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CHURCH
The church was recorded as being on the site since 1128. It has a late Norman nave and an Early English Chancel. The battlemented tower and the south porch are in the Perpendicular architectural style from the 15th Century. The tower is a prominent feature and the large crack on the west side is reputed to have been caused by an earthquake. It was used a Naval signalling station in Napoleonic times and still claims the right to fly the White Ensign. Extensive restoration work was carried out between 1860 and 1900. The stained glass windows and mosaics date from this period. Recently the organ has been restored and the bells have been re-hung in a strengthened frame. The first church hall built in 1972 was opened by ex-Prime Minister Ted Heath who was born in St Peters and sang in the choir.
Vestments, stoles, scarves and hoods are worn. There is a robed choir which sings in four part harmony. "Hymns Old and New" published by Kevin Mayhew is used. Seasonal material is observed, with different service books introduced for Ordinary time, Lent and Advent. There is an enthusiastic bell-ringing team based at the church which rings for services and for ceremonial occasions and weddings. The bell tower contains 8 bells. The bell ringing group forms part of a local bell-ringing team which visits other churches in the Diocese.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE OF ST PETER'S
St Peters Village was in early times the largest village in the area, Broadstairs being a small fishing village on the coast.
Thanet, which was an island in Roman times, is now the major conurbation in north-east Kent. It has a population of 122.660 (c.f. Maidstone 102,300 and Canterbury City 40,700). In mediaeval times there were three late Norman churches, St John, St Laurence and St Peter, serving what were to become the three towns of Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs.
As Broadstairs developed during Victorian times the residents living near the harbour at the bottom of the town petitioned for a chapel of ease to be provided. Holy Trinity was built in 1830 and became a separate parish in 1850. Subsequent development has taken place largely "up the hill" around the village of St Peter's. The parish of St Peter-in-Thanet surrounds Holy Trinity and has more than half of the population of the present town, which is properly named Broadstairs and St Peter's. As the town expanded further the daughter church of St Andrews was built on a site in Reading Street in 1911. St Andrews became a parish in its own right in 2012 with the formation of a group ministry for Broadstairs covering all three churches.
The old village of St Peter's is in the centre of the Isle of Thanet and has seen extensive development of secondary school education with three large shools plus more recently a campus of Christ Church, Canterbury University. The main shopping centre for the island at Westwood Cross is also in the parish. Broadstairs is perhaps the most popular seaside resort in Kent with seven attractive beaches and a full programme of summer entertainment.
The History of St. Peter-the-Apostle Church in Thanet,
Jill Hogben’s tremendous book about our church’s history will be available after the service and APCM next Sunday, 23 April and from the Parish Office thereafter. Her two years’ research and hard work has culminated in a fascinating and enlightening reference book about St Peter’s for which we are hugely grateful. Priced at only £10 per copy, all profits will go to St Peter’s.