A MALVERN man has published a detailed history of St Peter's Church, Martley.

Jeremy Campbell Grant has lived in Imperial Road for three years, but before that, he and his wife lived from 1974 until 1997 in The Old Hall, Martley, the parish's former rectory.

And it was during a volunteer stint painting iron gates in the churchyard that he resolved to research and write the church's history.

"I realised just how little I knew about St Peter's when I found that I couldn't give proper answers to so many of the questions asked of me by the numerous visitors to the church," he writes in the introduction.

The project was originally a series of articles in the parish magazine, edited by his wife Joan, a former publishing director at HarperCollins, but it later became a book.

And now St Peter's Church, Martley - a History is being launched tomorrow (Saturday, November 11) at the church.

The book runs to 258 pages, with more than 130 illustrations, and tells the story not only of the ancient building and its treasures, but of the people associated with it down the ages.

Among its contents are a complete history of the building, story of the parish of Martley, which was once a wealthy living for its rectors, and the histories of the rectories.

The church's clergy memorials are covered, giving Mr Campbell Grant a chance to relate the stories of some of the rectors of the past.

Among these were five members of the Hastings family, who held the living from 1795 to 1958; the family also produced eminent Victorian man of medicine Sir Charles Hastings, who lived in Barnards Green and founded the British Medical Association and the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Lay memorials are also covered, giving an insight into many fascinating personalities who have shaped the village and parish.

One of the features of Martley church is a wooden statue of Christ more than six feet tall. It was carved by Leslie Punter, who went on to make the Jenny Lind bust in Malvern and the Sir William Tennant bust in Upton.

The church's newest treasure is its Millennium window designed by Thomas Denny, who has also been commissioned to make a window for Malvern Priory.

Profits from the sale of the book will go towards the church fabric fund.