From 1500 (give or take a year or so) from the reign of Henry VIII through that of nineteen monarchs (and one commonwealth and one abdication) up to today's Queen Elizabeth, four buildings have in turn graced this spot as parish church. The original parish of Aberystruth was very much larger that the present parish of Blaina, having included what is now Beaufort, the land to the east of the Ebbw Fawr from its source above Ebbw Vale to what is now Aberbeeg, the whole of the valley of the Ebbw Fach from Aberbeeg right up to Brynmawr and the Tillery Valley. Even so in its early years the parish could only number between 1500 and 200 properties - none of which - apart from the church - was of any great size.
The first church was built sometime between 1495 and 1505. In his "History of Aberystruth" which was published in 1779, Edmund Jones mentions much heated argument as to where the church should be built. A site on what was known as the Beacon Mountain ( the Arrael Mountain) was first chosen but after considerable labour in clearing it was declared unsuitable for various reasons. The second favoured site was in the Tillery Valley but was eventually seen to be too far away from "the centre of things". (Remember, in those days the parish being a manor of the Lordship of Abergavenny and before having a church of its own came under the care of Lanwenarth Parish, Govilon, so the general outlook would be towards Abergavenny and not Newport). It was also though by some that the priest of that time tried to "push" the Tillery site as it would give him less distance to travel when he served lower down - probably at St., Illtyd's. This would have turned some parishioners against the site anyway - even this authority was sometimes disliked! However, in the end a site in the middle of the parish was chosen - the present site.
This first St. Peter's, being built about 500 years ago, is described by Edmund Jones in his book - when it was already nearly 300 years old -
With the coming of the industry and the increase of population a new and larger church was needed and the third St. Peters - and largest - was opened for public worship on July 12th 1857. This served the parish until coal mine workings undermined the foundations forcing its closure and eventual demolition.
The present St. Peters
was dedicated to the worship of God on ( date tbs. ) and although as a
building it is not likely to last the 300 odd years of the first, we still
look forward with confidence that a St. Peters will be here at the end
of the next half millennium.