St Peter's Church, Halfway

There are currently no services being held at St Peter's Church.

s early as Ash Wednesday, 8th February, 1885 there is a record of a Mission Service taking place at "the Room, Halfway Houses'' - this was probably an upper room in Ivy House, Minster Road, which was used annually for Services in the winter months. Although the then Vicar of Minster, The Revd W. Bramston, M.A., was much involved in restoration work at the Abbey, he still found time to show concern for the people of Halfway, living over two miles away from the Abbey. Hence the reason for having a “House Church'' during the winter months in Halfway, when road travel up the hill to and from Minster could be difficult.

Eventually the tenancy of Ivy House changed hands and new premises had to be found for the "Halfway House" church. It was then that the sister of The Revd W. Bramston and her husband, Mr. Perceval Smith, allowed Services to be held in Sheppey Court, Halfway Road, now used as flats for elderly citizens. When Mr. and Mrs. Perceval Smith moved away in 1904, the Revd W. Bramston managed to obtain permission for a monthly Service to be held in the Cemetery Chapel, Halfway Road (now demolished).

In 1905 a site for the First Saint Peter's Church was generously given beside the Queenborough Road, by The Fourth Lord Harris, father of the present Lord Harris. The Church was dedicated on 9th September, 1905 by the Dean of Canterbury, Dr. Henry Wace. The building was largely built of galvanised iron with a brick foundation, to accommodate 100 people. The cost of the Church, £250 was largely raised by a few anonymous donors in the Parish of Minster. Mr. H. Frew Simson, M.A., a Lay Reader, was appointed to St. Peter's, and for many years a succession of Lay Readers, aided by various Curates of Minster under the Revd W. Bramston, conducted Services and other Community Activities there. Because the building was dedicated, not consecrated, it was used for many community activities besides Services, hence the fact that it was often referred to as “The Parish Hall, West End'' as well as St. Peter's Mission Church. Eventually different Curates of Minster took charge of St. Peter's, until the 20th June, 1922, when the Church was destroyed by fire.

The second St Peter's church, built in 1925. This photograph was taken during the building of the current church in 1973

In 1924 the second St. Peter's Church, Halfway, was erected at a cost of £750, most of which was donated by a lady from Minster. This building was to accommodate 100 people and was dedicated by the then Lord Bishop of Dover, on Friday 16th January, 1925 -- two days before, the funeral had taken place at Minster Abbey of The Revd W. Bramston, whose influence had had so much to do with its erection. Shortly after the dedication, Captain Marsden, C.A., was appointed to take charge of St. Peter's, and he was followed by a succession of Church Army Captains until May 1962, when The Rev'd Alfred Ward, Curate of Minster, was appointed as Curate in Charge of St. Peter's. As long ago as 1945, in the days of Captain Anderson, C.A., the idea of raising money for a new and larger St. Peter's Church was mooted and agreed. The intention of this being to allow for an increase of social activity in the Old Church, for the fast increasing Halfway population, without interfering with the normal Church Services. The simultaneous use of the original building for both services and community meetings as a church hall was becoming difficult.

Original architect's drawing for the modern church

Plans for a new church were drawn up in the early 1970s by architect Cyril P Grigs ARIBA of Folkestone. The new church, designed around a congregation of 170, would cost £27,000 which was raised partly by donations and partly by the sale of land around the church. This land was used for housing and is now St Peter’s Close. The builders for the new church were to be E.C. Gransden & Co of Upchurch The foundation stone for the new church, actually a Norman stone from Minster Abbey to symbolize the link between the churches, was laid by Lord Harris on 31st March 1973. Building continued apace and the present church was consecrated by Michael Ramsey, then Archbishop of Canterbury, just six months later on Monday 8th October 1973. Thereafter the old church has been used solely as the church hall.

The church interior

The altar cloth