The Chesil Theatre occupies St Peter’s Church which once stood outside the City gates in Chesil Street.
The earliest mention of St Peter’s church is found in
the Domesday Book, written shortly after the survey of the City in 1148.
Before 1142, St Denis Priory owned the chapel, but it is certain that parts of the church are Norman in origin.
After the Second World War the
church fell out of use and by 1960 it was becoming structurally unsafe. The Winchester Preservation Trust, newly formed at that time, undertook to save the building. The Diocese had no alternative use for the building so the
Winchester Dramatic Society negotiated a rent free tenancy, in exchange for keeping the building in good repair.
The church has adapted well to it’s new role as a Theatre. The tower has become a wardrobe store, the
vestry a dressing room, the south aisle a scenery store, and the stage now occupies the nave. The back row of the auditorium seating marks the site of the altar.