We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Michael and All Angels, Brodsworth, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°33′32″N, 1°14′9″W)
SE 507 072
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now South Yorkshire
medieval York
now Sheffield
  • Barbara English
  • Rita Wood
21 May 2010, 13 September 2016

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=3091.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.


Brodsworth is an estate village five miles NW of Doncaster. The church is adjacent to the grounds of Brodsworth Hall (English Heritage), close to the site of a previous hall, which was demolished in 1860 on completion of the present one. In 2010 the University of Sheffield ran a Brodsworth Archaeology Landscape Project, which included excavation in the churchyard.

The church, of a creamy limestone, consists of chancel, nave, tower, N and S aisles extending into the chancel, and S porch. Both the nave and tower feature battlemented parapets and tile roof; the tower is considered to be late 12th or early 13thc. The nave is early Romanesque, whilst the N arcade and the long chancel are later medieval additions (see Comments).


Brodsworth was held by Roger de Bully and Nigel in 1086, having been held by Alsi in 1066. The Domesday Survey mentions a priest and a church in 1086 [Williams et al. (1987-1992), f.319v]. In the early 13thc the manor belonged to William de Lisle, subtenant of the honour of Tickhill; it was divided in 1226 between his two heiresses and their husbands. The church was granted to the Dean and Chapter of York in 1304 [Thompson and Clay (1933), 45-6].


Exterior Features


Exterior Decoration

String courses

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches



Interior Decoration

String courses

Hunter in the early 19thc mentioned an original nave and chancel, to which a N aisle had been added [Hunter (1828), 320]. Glynne visited the structure in January 1860 and found a small church, having nave with N aisle, chancel, and a tower ‘low and heavy western tower, in its lower portion Norman, having a buttress on the S side with the Norman pellet ornament’. He says ‘the tower arch opening to the nave is low and plain Norman, upon impost’ [Butler (2007), 123-4], but the arch is pointed; compare Ryder (1982), fig. on p. 27.

The church was restored in 1874, when the S aisle was added [Pevsner (1979), 148; Ryder (1982), 25-34; plan p. 26; Borthwick Fac. 1874/3].

Morris (1919), 138-9, found the evolution of the church hard to read, and speculated that the nave was lengthened one bay to the W, perhaps the aisle extended after the tower was built. Pevsner also found the N arcade strange; he thought the W bay had elements of the late 12thc, and the other two bays, early 13thc [Pevsner (1967), 148].

Ryder identified an early stone church of overlap date, perhaps similar to that at Hooton Pagnell; it had a tower, nave and chancel, of which the tower and nave together are represented by the present nave. He suggests that the N arcade was cut through the N wall of the tower and nave towards the end of the 12thc [Ryder (1982), 25, 27-30]. The recognition of an early tower occupying the W bay of the nave simplifies the problems encountered by Morris and Pevsner.

On the N wall of the N aisle, Ryder notes straight joints, one interior, one exterior, which might mark the place of a N doorway [Ryder (1982), plan p. 26, at ‘SJ’]. The exterior joint could still be seen, but the interior wall is now rendered and painted. The window at the W end of that wall is seen to be reset.

Reset stones at tower

The ornamental stones on the W gable of the nave and the setback of the S wall of the tower are thought to be re-used on a tower that is Transitional or even early 13thc in date [Pevsner (1967), 148; Ryder (1982), 30]. Early- to mid-12thc towers at Everingham and Hotham in the East Riding have a stringcourse with various patterns, and a square section.

On the setback on the N side of tower a zigzag decoration in low relief is mentioned by Ryder (1982), 30, but this could not be identified by the fieldworkers.


Borthwick Institute Faculty papers 1874/3.

The Yorkshire Church Notes of Sir Stephen Glynne (1825-1874), ed. by L. A. S. Butler, Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Record Series 159, Woodbridge 2007.

J. Hunter, South Yorkshire, 1, London 1828.

G. Lawton, Collectio rerum ecclesiasticarum de diocesi Eboracensi; or Collections relative to churches and chapels within the Diocese of York. To which are added collections relative to churches and chapels within the diocese of Ripon, London 1842.

J. E. Morris, The West Riding of Yorkshire, 2nd ed., London 1919.

N. Pevsner, revised by E. Radcliffe, Yorkshire: West Riding. The Buildings of England, 2nd ed, Harmondsworth 1967.

J. Raine, 'The Dedications of the Yorkshire Churches', Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 2 (1873), 180-92.

P. F. Ryder, Saxon Churches in South Yorkshire, South Yorkshire County Council Archaeology, Monograph No. 2, Sheffield 1982.

Fasti parochiales 1 part 1, [Deanery of Doncaster part 1], ed. by A. H. Thompson and C. T. Clay, Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series 85, Leeds 1933.

A. Williams et al., The Yorkshire Domesday, London 1987-1992.