Town Church, St Peter Port

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Town Church, a prominent feature of St Peter Port seafront

The Town Church is the parish church of St Peter Port, the capital of Guernsey.

St Peter Port takes its name from its parish church and the "Town Church", as it is known throughout the island, is also the mother church of the Bailiwick.

Channel Islands churches have a style which is all their own. There is little to be seen of the transition from Romanesque to Gothic. Stand beneath the tower with its massive granite piers, sturdy ribs and central oculus, through which bells are hauled up, and the building looks all of a piece.

Yet it was built and rebuilt over more than two hundred years, the major work being completed by 1475. The nave is the oldest part, its heavy walls pierced by an arcade when the aisles on each side were added. The corner in which the font stands is chamfered, so close did the houses of medieval St Peter Port crowd round their church. It was for this reason that the last major extension, the "south transept", had to be built about the churchyard, the only space available. This gives a peculiarly unbalanced shape to what was once a cruciform building.

On the pillars adjoining the Brock Chapel are stone brackets which once supported the floor of a gallery where the Ecclesiastical Court met. This unique institution still meets every week to grant probate and marriage licences.

The Priaulx Library holds microfilm copies of the parish baptisms, marriages and burials registers, which date from 1563.

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