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St John the Evangelist, Brandon, Lincolnshire

(53°1′21″N, 0°39′18″W)
SK 903 481
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Lincolnshire
now Lincolnshire
  • Thomas E. Russo
22 July 1996

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Originally a chapel of ease, this is now a small parish church, consisting of nave and chancel with a 13thc. N aisle. It was restored in 1872 by Charles Kirk Jr.; the S porch was added at this time. The Romanesque features are the S doorway and the font.


Although there are entries for Brandon in Domesday Book, there is no mention of a church here in 1086. Brandon is a hamlet in the parish of Hough-on-the-Hill, which did have a church in 1086 noted in Domesday Book. The extensive surviving Anglo-Saxon fabric of Hough-on-the-Hill, All Saints, as well as the large nearby Anglo-Saxon cemetery on Loveden Hill, confirm this area as one of religious and economic significance in the late 10thc. and through to the 12thc.. As a chapel of ease, Brandon chapel would have been a convenience provided by the lord of the manor for his tenants so they would not have had to go to Hough-on-the-Hill for their religious needs. The tympanum constitutes visual evidence for a late 11thc./early 12thc. church in Brandon. In 1218 a Final Concord from King Henry III’s reign provides written evidence for a church in Brandon (see Lincolnshire Records: Abstracts of Final Concords).


Exterior Features





The chamfering of the top edge of the lintel for a length that corresponds to the width of the tympanum suggests that they were made together. The incised guidelines on the uncarved central area of the tympanum demonstrate the unfinished nature of the piece. The R label stop is probably a fragment from the label which has clearly been reset in its current position. Indeed, the small scale of the tympanum in relation to the whole ensemble and the contrast between the highly ornamental lintel-tympanum-label against the plain arch and jambs suggest that this is a reconstructed doorway, perhaps using sculptural elements from another location. The upright leaves on the lintel are sometimes referred to as “Jew’s harp” ornament. Stocker and Everson note that this type of decoration is associated with sculpture of the late 11thc. and early 12thc..


P. Everson and D. Stocker, Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture: Lincolnshire. Vol. 5, London, 1999, 65, 309.

Lincolnshire Records: Abstract of Final Concords. Vol. 1, London, Spottiswoode, 1896, 136.

N. Pevsner and J. Harris, The Buildings of England. Lincolnshire. London, 1989 (repr. 1990), 178-179.