ODG Guild Header
Established January 17 1881
St. Peter, Burnham, Bucks
East Berks & South Bucks branch of the ODG
St. Peter, Burnham
St. Peter, Burnham ©PB 14 Apr 2004
Dedication: St. Peter, Burnham

Service Ringing: Sun 9.30

Practice night: Tue 7.30pm

Availability and Restrictions: All by request.

The Bells (8) 12-3-13

Access to ringing chamber: Concrete Spiral staircase in tower.

In 1879 two treble bells were added to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. In 1949 the bells, some dating from the C 15th, were recast and rehung in a new steel frame.

The following information comes from Andrew Bull

A ring of 8, tenor 12-3-13, diameter 41¼”, tuned to F#
Bell Weight
Diameter Strike
Founder Foundry
treble 4-0-19 26 F# 1949 Taylor Loughborough
2 4-1-6 26½ F 1949 Taylor Loughborough
3 4-2-22 28 D# 1949 Taylor Loughborough
4 5-1-19 30 C# 1949 Taylor Loughborough
5 6-1-13 32 B 1949 Taylor Loughborough
6 7-0-18 33¾ A# 1949 Taylor Loughborough
7 9-2-10 37 G# 1949 Taylor Loughborough
tenor 12-3-13 41¼ F# 1949 Taylor Loughborough



Burnham was mentioned in the Domesday Book and forms part of the Chiltern Hundreds which comprise Burnham, Desborough and Stoke.

The first church on this site was probably built by the Romans in about 500 AD. Some early references to Burnham are to be found in the registers of the Bishops of Lincoln as Burnham was in that diocese until the formation of the Diocese of Oxford in 1835. It is likely that the Saxons replaced the Roman church in about 700. The Saxon Archbishop, Aelfric, refers in his Will to lands in Burnham. It is probable that the present building was started in the reign of Stephen (1134-54). King John presented the earliest known incumbent to the Rectory of Burnham in 1202.

Various additions and improvements have been made to the building over the centuries. A major restoration was carried out in 1863-4 under the supervision of the vicar, the Revd. Thomas Carter and churchwarden, Mr Samuel Christie-Miller. The very considerable sum, at that time, of £2,000 was raised by public subscription. The work undertaken included removal of the ceiling and a gallery, restoration of windows, provision of a heating system, seating and an oak floor. The south porch was rebuilt and Minton tiles laid in the chancel. The chancel walls were also strengthened by the addition of five buttresses.

In 1891 a second restoration took place. The £3,018 raised, again by public subscription, was mostly spent on the tower. A masonry storey, replacing the former wooden structure which had housed the bells and a timber spire covered in oak shingles, were added, together with a new turret staircase. The stonework of the west window was also entirely renewed and a vestry built.

Other major restoration work was carried out in the 1960s when new flooring was laid and an electronic organ installed. In 1986 the vestry was demolished and the present 'Cornerstone' built. Church members met the cost of £120,000 from legacies, mainly from the Almond and Rhodes families, through public donations and fund-raising activities.

This information is taken from a brief guide of the church ‘A Walk in St. Peter's.’ Further church and community information is available in the ‘Cornerstone’.

G.Gilbert's grave
George Gilbert's grave. ©BM Feb 2005
George Gilbert was the tower captain for many years. He raised bands of local lads only to be thoroughly dispirited when he lost them to the war. He later raised up bands of girls and guarded them jealously lest young men from other towers lured them away. There are many tales of George Gilbert that can be told by ringers still living, not all of them very complimentary to George!
Points of interest in church:
  • The altar rails are dated 1663 and originally formed part of a staircase balustrade at Eton College.
  • A large chest hold the altar frontals and was made from the remains of the mediæval rood screen.
  • A piscina in the sill of the lancet window indicates that an altar once stood at this end of the south aisle
  • Pillars in the south aisle contain some interesting graffiti, including the C 17th inscription THE POPE IS A KNAVE.
  • To the left of the west door, on a marble tablet, are brasses of the Eyre family, which were removed from the church floor in 1961. These are palimpsets, having been previously used on the reverse side.
Church facilities: Toilet in The Cornerstone (annexe within church ) There is a key in the tower for this.

Travel Details: OS Grid Ref: SU930823

Eating Places: ‘The Five Bells’ opposite and a fish and chip shop in the High Street

Return to the EBSB Branch listings page