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Welcome to St Peter’s


The History of St Peter's Church

The history of Saint Peter’s church goes back to the appointment of the Reverend William Price Jones, at the age of 29, to the living of Clee-cum-Cleethorpes in 1850. A man of apparently boundless energy he was determined to bring new life to the small Church of England community in the predominantly Methodist seaside village. At that time the population was about 1,000, now it is nearer 40,000.

By 1852 Price Jones had organised the building of the vicarage, now part of St. Peter’s School on St. Peter’s Avenue. It was built on enclosure land awarded to the vicar and churchwardens in 1846. Price Jones recognised that Cleethorpes would thrive with the coming of the railway and his Christian vision was to see an Anglican church in the centre of the growing town. Following a public meeting on 30th January 1864, a resolution was passed ‘that a new church at Cleethorpes is urgently needed and it is desirable that such a church be built and steps taken to raise funds for carrying out the work’.

Before the church was built it was quite a trek to the Anglican church in Old Clee, the village being connected to Cleethorpes by a track running across the fields to the top mill in Mill Road.

The services were engaged of prominent Lincolnshire architect, James Fowler and on 2nd August 1864 the Foundation Stone of the 400 seat church was laid by Alexander Grant Thorold of Weelsby House. St. Peter’s was built on the west side of what was then Oole Road a thoroughfare opened up through the fields in the 1840’s. It became known as Church Lane then St. Peter’s Road and eventually St. Peter’s Avenue.

The church was completed 2 years later at a cost of about £3,500 and consecrated by the Bishop of Lincoln on St. Peter’s Day 1866. The tower was added the following year at a cost of £850.

When the local health authority of Cleethorpes with Thrunscoe was formed in 1873, William P Jones was its first chairman.  He later helped it form into an urban district council in 1894. In this capacity he arranged for the town clock to be fixed to the tower. The payment was by popular subscription and enabled local guest houses and their visitors to standardise their mealtimes.

However, all was not right with the structure of the church. The clay with chalk subsoil shrank under the much heavier weight of the tower by as much as 25 mm or 1 inch. This is best seen in the external drip/string course moulding below the north-east window next the tower. Major repairs were then undertaken with the Early English style triple lancet east end window being replaced by the more stylish geometrical window with its stained glass, by Clayton and Bell, depicting the Resurrection. At the same time a new vestry was added together with a new organ chamber to take the enlarged Foster and Andrews organ. Since that date, there seems to have been no further settlement, the clay having stabilised itself.

In the 1980's a narthex (west end porch) was built at the west end to house two toilets and an area for parents to take their children during the service. Other alterations include the insertion of three new stained glass windows rescued from redundant churches, which were being demolished. Other work included a “temporary” extension to the chancel so as to allow for a nave altar. It has also played a big part in the successful summer concerts. A further development was the insertion of a new window to commemorate the church becoming the home to the national Normandy Veterans Association.

2016 marked the 150th anniversary of the consecration of Saint Peter’s Church. This was celebrated with a magnificent flower show, a display of children’s drawings, a visit by the Bishop of Lincoln at a festival service and a civic service attended by her worship the Mayor of North East Lincolnshire Council. This not only underlines the importance of this fine “Fowler” church to the community of the civic town of Cleethorpes with Thrunscoe but also as a key church within the  unitary authority of North East Lincolnshire.