St Mary’s Church

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Kirk Bramwith is a tiny settlement of just a few houses in the depths of rural South Yorkshire. The church doesn’t feature in any of the tourist literature and we only discovered it by accident. We picked up a leaflet about churches in the Doncaster area which had a picture of the Norman Chancel arch at Kirk Bramwith. It looked good and as it wasn’t far from Fishlake which was on our list of churches to visit, we set off to find it. We weren’t disappointed.

The nave dates from 1120 and has a splendid south doorway with beak head and chevron carving. The tall buttressed and battlemented west tower is later and dwarfs the simple nave.

The surrounding area belonged to the Duchy of Lancaster and they are still patrons of the estate. This explains the three lions set on a scarlet background on the north wall of the nave.

The inside of the church felt dark and it took our eyes a while to get used to the low lighting. The only light comes through small square windows set back in deep reveals. Most of these contain modern stained glass with images of George III, Queen Anne, Elizabeth of York, wife of HenryVII and Constance of Castille, second wife of John of Gaunt. The window at the back of the north wall has medieval glass. The two lower figures carry a sword and are thought to be Knights Templar.

At the back of the church is a much battered Saxon font which was dug up in the churchyard in the 1940s.

The wood ceiling is divided into panels and has paintings of the Royal Coat of Arms, the three golden lions of the Duchy of Lancaster and other shields.

The lovely chancel arch has zig zag and cross hatch carving.

The illuminated panel on the north wall contains stained glass images of Michael de la Pole, who was rector from 1314-19 and Margaret of Anjou. It is a lovely piece of work but there is no other information about it.

All the furnishings in the church, including the hymn boards and the inner surface of the door are made by Robert Thompson of Kilburn (the Mouse Man). They have his mouse signature and typical axed finish. He even added a small painted Royal Coat of Arms on the front of the pulpit.

The altar is a solid oak table with a panelled reredos behind, again both by Thompson. Above, the east window has the coat of arms of two Dukes of Lancaster as well as kings.

This is a delightful church and well worth finding. It doesn’t get many visitors apart from its snowdrop festival in February.

The church is kept locked but a key is available from the cottage next to the church. There is also parking along the road here.

There are more pictures “here.”:

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