There has been a place of worship on the site of Peterstow church for many centuries, even pre-Christian and long before any permanent building was erected. A clue to this early period was found when heating apparatus was being installed; human bones were discovered buried under the chancel floor suggesting indiscriminate burial after a battle long ago.
On the site of this burial ground a Christian church was built in Saxon times. The first written reference to the church is in the book of Llandaff which says that Herwald, Bishop of Llandaff, consecrated a church at Llanbedr, the Welsh name for Peterstow (Peter's place) in the year 1066. A church is also said to have been consecrated at LLansanfreit, Bridstow, our neighbouring parish of St Bride or St Bridget. There, too, a church was already in existence. Collwyn was appointed priest in charge of both churches. Our two parishes later had separate priests but the circle was completed when they were joined once more under one Rector in 1959.
The Saxon church was replaced by a larger Norman church in the 12 th century. Some of the foundation stones of the old church were retained. These enormous stones are visible from outside in the base of the north wall of the nave. During the next two centuries the church was partly rebuilt to take on its present form and now only one of the Norman windows remains. The whole of the chancel was re-constructed in 1330 in the decorated style, with an east window and three other windows, a doorway (now walled up) and piscina. The chancel arch was rebuilt and widened. In the south wall of the nave, is a fragment of a stone coffin lid which may have come from a recessed monument. The nave roof, with its scissor trusses, also dates from the 14 th century, like the churchyard cross, of which only the base remains.
Apart form the addition of a font and a small tower or bell turret in the 15 th century and of a panelled pulpit in the 17 th century, few alterations were made in the church until the great restoration under Dr Jebb in the 1860s with Sir George Gilbert Scott (1811 1878) as the architect. The walls, which had bulged, were straightened and strengthened with buttresses. The foundations were underpinned and proper drainage provided. The roof was repaired and the ceiling of the chancel panelled in oak. New windows were added in the nave, the gallery at the west end was removed, the old pews replaced with open wainscot seats. Finally, a vestry was added over the vault where heating was installed. All this was for the cost of £1.200.
The church was re-opened in great style on July 2 nd 1866. Morning Prayer was sung in full and followed by the Communion service. After an elegant luncheon with speeches, there was Evensong, and the families of the parish were given tea which included huge piles of plum cake. Great credit is due to Dr Jebb who is commemorated by a window in the chancel. He was Rector of Peterstow for 40 years.
There is in the sanctuary the original Norman font which was removed at an unknown date. It was restored and placed in the sanctuary at the Patronal Festival in 1954.
Over the years many gifts have been given to beautify the church, among them the stained glass windows, each depicting a scene from the life of St Peter, the altar and altar frontals, carpeting and kneelers. All these help to create the atmosphere of a welcoming, living church.