Major works begin at St Peter’s Church, Sandwich

Major works have now begun at St Peter’s Church at Sandwich in Kent, as part of a project which will develop the Grade I listed building as a heritage site by providing improving its welcome to visitors, and the experience on offer..

The church is one of the best-known landmarks in the town and has been under the care of The Churches Conservation Trust since 1974. This new project will focus on the tower of the church, allowing visitors to climb to the top by installing new stairs. New visitor displays will help to also tell the stories of the 900-year old church and the community which surrounds it, including the mercantile history of the town and notable figures such the Founding Father of the United States of America Thomas Paine who was married at St Peter's.

The project aims to secure a sustainable future of this important building, which already welcomes thousands of visitors a year. It will bring economic benefits to the local community, supporting employment and generating revenue, whilst attracting people and businesses to the area.

St Peter’s is a landmark in Sandwich, and its onion dome tower on the skyline and links to the history of the town. Views from the top of the tower are stunning and will allow visitors to really appreciate what is described as the ‘most complete medieval town in England’.

Thanks to a close partnership between the CCT and the Friends of St Peter’s the church also functions as an arts centre and hosts a series of events throughout the year.

Anne Evans, Chair of the Friends of St Peter’s, said: "The Friends of St Peter’s have had a vision for many years of the future of the church, and we’re very excited that our dreams are coming true! The work on the church will make it a real asset for the town."

Peter Aiers, our Director in the South East, said: "We’re really excited that work is finally about to begin on our project at St Peter’s Sandwich. We think that the new tower access for visitors will really put the church on the map. This iconic building will become a popular tourist attraction in it’s own right, helping the CCT to look after St Peter’s and 347 other churches in our care,  as well as providing another great attraction for beautiful Sandwich".

The project is funded by the Government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport and includes vital development work necessary to become a vibrant venue with a tailored programme of activities and uses.

The church will remain open as usual during this period and will also be hosting a series of open days and behind the scenes events for members of the public.