A church has stood on the present site for at least 1,000 years. The Domesday Book called the village ‘Done Cerce’ and said that there was a priest here. The church is for the most part, the work of the monks of Pipewell, a Cistercian abbey near Kettering in Northamptonshire. Pipewell owned lands and property in Warwickshire and St. Peter’s was appropriated by the abbey in 1175.
An abbey document mentions a fire in the early church and it was almost entirely rebuilt in the 14th Century. St. Peter’s remained their property until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. From 1538, parishes were obliged to keep registers and the register in Dunchurch began in that year.
In the 18th Century, four galleries were erected inside the church, two being in the south and north aisles, another for the musicians and finally another in the tower when the organ was introduced. These ‘light starving’ constructions were removed in the major restorations of 1841 and 1908.
In 1724, six bells were installed at St. Peter’s, the weight of the tenor (heaviest bell) being 17cwt 0qtrs 8lbs in E. They were re-hung in 1913 and again in 1981. The bells are rung for service every Sunday and also for weddings and other special events. Every year following the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, a ‘Guy Fawkes’ peal was rung prior to a service of thanksgiving for the preservation of the King’s life.
The church clock was installed in 1912 and strikes the hours and quarters. A new organ was installed in the south aisle in 1972 and in its early years was used for recordings by the BBC.
We are fortunate to have the care of such an ancient and beautiful place for present and future generations. Today, as well as weekly worship, we respond to the pastoral needs of individuals and families, supporting children and family life through our church schools, Junior Church and other activities for families.