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St Peter, Milton Bryan, Bedfordshire

(51°57′51″N, 0°34′56″W)
Milton Bryan
SP 975 305
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Bedfordshire
now Bedfordshire
  • Hazel Gardiner

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The church has a nave, chancel, N and S transepts and a tower on the NW. The nave and chancel are 12thc. and round-headed windows are found on the S and W walls of the nave and the N and S walls of the chancel. All are plain apart from the interior W window. 12thc. sculpture is found on the restored chancel arch, and on the capital and base of a nook-shaft in the S wall of the chancel. There is also a 11thc. graveslab in the nave. The church was restored by Cottingham in 1841-43. Cottingham also built the the tower and probably the transepts.


The Domesday Survey does not mention a church at Milton Bryan, but records that the Bishop of Bayeux and Hugh de Beauchamp held land there. In the mid-12thc. the Bryan family held land of Hugh de Beauchamp. The Bryan family continued to hold this land until the mid-14thc.

The advowson was held by Merton Priory, a gift of the Bryan family, from the 12thc. to the Dissolution (VCH, 421).


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Interior Decoration





A full description of the graveslab is recorded in the Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, which dates the sculpture 10th to 11thc. VCH records that the graveslab was recovered when the foundations for the tower were excavated. Hare records that the graveslab was made of Barnack Stone.

Pevsner suggests that the nook shaft in the chancel could originally have been an apse arch, while VCH suggests that it may have been a support for vaulting.

A watercolour by Thomas Fisher (1772-1836), in the collection of the Cecil Higgins Gallery, Bedford, shows the church in its pre-restoration state, where it consisted of chancel and nave, with a weatherboard tower over the nave.

VCH suggests that the plain font may be 12thc.

Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, 4, SE England, 1996, 232.
Domesday Book: Bedfordshire, Ed. J. Morris, Chichester, 1977, 2, 3; 23, 20.
The Victoria County History: A History of the County of Bedford, London,1912, 3:420–1.
M. Hare, 'Anglo Saxon Work at Carlton and other Bedfordshire Churches', Bedfordshire Archaeological Journal, 6, 1971, 40.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England, Bedfordshire and the County of Huntingdon and Peterborough, London, 1968, 126.