Carved stone capital

Medieval, about AD 1125-50
From Lewes, Sussex, England

Scenes from the life of St Peter

This capital is a remnant from the priory of Lewes in Sussex. It is carved with four scenes from the gospels relating to the life of St Peter: the miraculous draught of fishes (Luke 5:5-9); the calling of Saints Peter and Andrew (Matthew 5:18, Mark 1:16-17); a church representing Christ's instruction to St Peter to build His church (Matthew 17:18); the giving of the keys to St Peter (Matthew 17:19).

Why were scenes from the life of Saint Peter chosen to decorate the capital? Lewes was a Cluniac priory dedicated to St Pancras. The Abbey of Cluny, however, was dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. This relationship between the Cluniac order and St Peter is likely to have suggested the subject of his life as a decorative motif. It was also expressed by the papacy who placed the Abbey at Lewes under its special protection.

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Carved stone capital

  • The Church

    The Church

  • Miraculous draught of fishes

    Miraculous draught of fishes


More information


J. Robinson, Masterpieces: Medieval Art (London, British Museum Press, 2008)

H. Poole, Lewes Priory, the site and its (Lewes, 2000)

T. Holland, J. Holt and G. Zarnecki (eds.), English Romanesque art 1066-12 (London, Hayward Gallery, 1984)


Height: 25.200 cm
Width: 28.200 cm

Museum number

M&ME 1839,10-29,43



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