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St Bridget’s Church

Grid Ref: NY 086309

St Bridget’s Church was possibly founded as part of an early nunnery, displaying many pre-Norman carved stones in its 14th Century south aisle chantry chapel. The tower dates from around 1220, though William Butterfield added a saddle-back top storey during the restoration of 1864-76.

The south aisle contains a piscina, triple sedilia and canopied tomb of Rector Thomas de Burgh treasurer of Ireland, who died about 1337. There are beautifully stencilled roofs dating from 1865 and 1875, part of the Butterfield restoration. This also included the main East window, dedicated to the Rev John Wordsworth, son of the poet laureate, who was vicar of Brigham for 40 years. The window is of the Ascension, and is by Alexander Gibbs, who was also responsible for several other windows in the Church.

The graveyard contains several hundred superbly carved stones from the 17th to the 19th Centuries, and the table tomb of the family of Fletcher Christian, the Bounty mutineer, which is close to the war memorial. Fletcher Christian, born in nearby Eaglesfield, was privately baptised in Brigham Church on the day of his birth, as he was not thought likely to survive. He is alleged to have dies out on Pitcairn Island.

The Quaker George Fox visted Brigham twice, and converted the Civil War minister John Wilkinson to Quakerism in his own Church.

Aerial photo by Simon Ledingham

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