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St Mary, Kirk Bramwith, Yorkshire, West Riding

(53°35′56″N, 1°3′52″W)
Kirk Bramwith
SE 620 118
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Yorkshire, West Riding
now South Yorkshire
medieval York
now Sheffield
medieval St Mary
now St Mary
  • Rita Wood
15 Jun 2001, 18 Apr 2016

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This is a small church in a hamlet in the flood plain of the Don. The Duchy of Lancaster was the sole patron until the uniting of the benefice with that of Fishlake and Sykehouse in 1987. It consists of a W tower, nave and chancel.

As at Fishlake and Kirk Sandall, the church was sited very close to the river Don. Due to the constant movement of ground water, or actual floodwater, the church has suffered settlement. This has, for example, caused water seepage down cracks on the S side of the chancel arch and some decay to the sculpture there, while the N side of the nave has had to be supported by buttresses.

The tower and nave are likely to follow the original 12th-century plan because of the preservation of the two doorways and the chancel arch, but the chancel itself was probably altered in the later middle ages, and was again rebuilt in 1847; the roof-line of the first chancel can be seen on the exterior E wall of the nave. The tower appears later on the exterior, but inside in the NW angle is a spiral vice, while the lower part of the tower space is vaulted very crudely, as if in an emergency repair.

The font is a later item: it recalls octagonal pillar bases with angle lugs, the chiselling-out of the basin is later too (see Comments). The shield with the cross on the NW buttress of the tower is not relevant to this Corpus (church guide 2001, 2, 6).

Romanesque sculpture is in the chancel arch and S doorway; there are also 3 reset fragments.


In Domesday Book, Roger de Busli held the manor of Branwat: no mention of a church (VCH II, 299).

Formerly in the patronage of the Lacys, now the patron is the Duchy of Lancaster (Lawton 1842, 203).


Exterior Features



Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Interior Decoration



Some details recur at Campsall, e.g., the re-entrant semicircles or 'sunken mushrooms' in the N capital of the chancel arch are seen on one of the loose stones at Campsall (also on the doorway at Bishop Wilton, East Riding). The upright leaves in the S capital of the chancel arch are found on the N respond of the chancel arch at Campsall (and perhaps even at Thorne, W doorway). The spur or claw form of the lug on the bases of the chancel arch is also used at Frickley.

Fonts at Kirk Bramwith:

The font now in use "was dug up in the churchyard in the 1940s" according to the church guide (2001, 2), adding the comment that it "is said to be Saxon". It was standing under the tower when first recorded, but now (2016) is in the NW part of the nave. This is a very worn and weathered hunk of stone, reset on a modern base. The form is an octagonal drum on an integral square plinth, with a large spur at each of the four corners making up to the cylinder; the spurs are rounded above and plain and square in line with the four sides of the base. The form recalls Gothic pillar bases but is irregular. The bowl interior is roughly worked to a hemisphere with a broad chisel. Unlined.

There is an octagonal bowl now outside the door, this is probably the font replaced by the present one; it also is unlikely to be a Romanesque font.

When Sir Stephen Glynne visited in 1867, he said 'The font is plain' (Butler 2007, 245).


F. Arnold-Forster, Studies in Church Dedications or England’s Patron Saints, London 1899, III, 171.

L. A. S. Butler, ed., The Yorkshire Church Notes of Sir Stephen Glynne (1825-1874). Y. A. Soc. Record series 159, Woodbridge 2007.

A Walk round… St. Mary’s Church, Kirk Bramwith. N.p., 2001. [Anonymous]

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. New edition, London, 1842.

Victoria County History of Yorkshire, vol. II, reprinted 1974.