St. Peter's Church at the heart of Drayton Bassett is built of local sandstone in Gothic style with nave, chancel and 15th century tower. The Church is part of the Peel Parishes, including churches at Fazeley, Mile Oak and Canwell.
In 1327, a Ralph Lord Bassett was licenced by King Edward III to discharge a debt in land in Nether Whitaker, in the county of Warwickshore, by building a Chantry (an endowed Chapel). Evidence suggests that this Chantry was built on the site of St. John's Chantry, dedicated to John the Baptist; now the Chruch of St. Peter's, Drayton Bassett.
Historical documents describe it as being 'a beautiful and rich specimen of Gothic Architecture, consisting of a lofty Nave and Chancel forming one handsome room 100ft by 44ft'. At each end were very lofty and spacious stained -glass windows. There were no pillars or arches - instead the hammer beam timbered roof was 'supported on butteresses in the same way as in Westminster Hall'.
The two oldest monuments were in the Nave, under the arches in the wall sculptured upon alabaster slabs representing the heads of a man and woman lying under a rich Gothic arch. On the Chacel floor was another ancient slab, formerly inlaid with brass figures and an inscription supposed to have been for Ralph Lord Bassett.
The Church fell into neglect and was further damaged in a storm in 1792 when the leaden roof was blown off. The Church was then taken down and rebuilt on a much smaller scale and plainer. The only remaining section is the old tower. This portion of the North wall is clearly all that reamins of the old church and still contains the ringers' chamber.
The body of the famous Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Baronet, was entombed in 1850 and in his memory the Church was enlarged and improved by his family three years later. The walls and buttresses were altered to their present dimensions, the roof raised and the round headed window taken out, built higher and made pointed. At this time the present Chancel and Vestry were built. The current Parish Church is probably 15th century with rebuilding around 1793 and 1855.
Although no major major work has been undertaken since the Peels left Drayton Manor, a succession of generations have maintained the fine old building. A major task was the restoration of the Church clock which took three years to complete. The west gallery houses the organ built in 1875 by Harstons of Tamworth. This is served by a wooden staircase with splat balusters.
Inside the church are a full set of 19th century box pews. Improvements in 1875 include a good octagonal oak pulpit featuring Gothic style panels and brass balustrade and reading desk with open panels. The stone font , still in use today, is octagonal and has five pillars with the pedestal consisting of stiff-leaf capitals.
The church has recently undertaken a project to replace the bells - more information can be found here.