Coggeshall, St Peter ad Vincula
The magnificent and imposing St Peter ad Vincula ('St Peter in chains', a rare dedication) in Coggeshall, Essex, is one of a group of great churches built following the success of the early wool-trade in the East Anglia area. It is Grade I listed.
The building now standing was completed in the first quarter of the 15th century, and sits on a site where both Saxon and Norman churches stood previously. It was restored in the nineteenth century, but severely damaged by enemy action in 1940, and restored 1955-8 by S.E. Dykes Bower.
The church is built of flint rubble with fragments of brick, partly faced with ashlar, with limestone dressings, roofed with lead. The chancel and nave, N and S chapels all date from the fifteenth century. The north arcade and clerestorey, most of the north aisle, the roofs of the nave and north aisle, and the tower were rebuilt 1955-8, and the remainder repaired.
The church shelters a maternity roost of soprano pipistrelles and a Natterer’s bat day roost. These make a mess and fly around in the church interior.
The project built a link between the church community and Essex Bat Group. Members of the bat group led two successful and well-attended bat talks and walks, which made the church community more positive about their bats, helping them to co-exist more harmoniously.