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The present church stands on the site of an earlier Saxon church. The first record of a priest at Brington is in the Domesday Book in 1086.

The Tower

This is the earliest part of the Church and was built around 1200 A.D. It was one of the old chain of beacon towers and now houses the bells and the clock. The clock is dated 1820 and was made by John Corby of Castle Ashby. There are six bells which were re-cast in 1745 by Rudhall of Gloucester and re-hung on a metal frame in the 1800's. Charles 1st's dinner bell which is also known as the "priest's bell was brought here from Holdenby House and also hangs here.

The Entrance and Porch

On the outside wall to the East is the effigy on an unknown priest and dates from the 1300's.

The South Porch was restored by Edward Blore in 1832. The glass doors and screen were installed in 1998. These were designed by Maurice Watson and decorated by Richard Barnard.

Developments of the original church have taken place over the centuries particularly when Sir Edward Grey and his grandson Sir Thomas 1st Marquess of Dorset ( Lords of the Manor of Nobottle and Brington ) integrated the tower with the church building.

The Poppy-heads

There are 181 poppy-heads spanning over 500 years. The oldest date from 1405 which are carved on both sides but only four remain. A further 67 were added in the period 1445-1457 and these are only carved on one side. The remainder were added in the years 1606, 1848 and 1903.

The origin of the term poppy-head comes from the Latin 'puppis' for a figure head on a ship and the old French meaning of a bunch of hemp or flax tied to a staff. They often resembled a fleur-de-lys with floral carving.

The Spencer Chapel

Built around the period 1513 - 1522 it is the shrine to the Spencer family and has 19 generations of Spencer tombs. Some are easily visble and standing by the choir stalls the three that are visible are

Right - Monument to Sir John and Isabell Gaunt 1522
Centre - Monument to Sir John and Katherine Kitson 1586
Left - Monument to Sir Robert (1st Baron Wormleighton) and Margaret Willoughby 1622

Windows in bay recess - Right      - two windows to 3rd Earl Spencer 1845
                                             Centre - single window to 4th Earl Spencer 1857
                                             Left          - two windows to 2nd Earl Spencer 1834

Looking through the railings

Far right hand corner - Bust of Sir Edward Spencer 1655 rising out of the Urn of the Resurrection

Straight ahead at far end - Monument to Sir William and Susan Knightley 1532

Far left hand corner - Monument to Sir John and Mary Catlyn 1599

Immediate left - Monument to Sir William ( 2nd Baron Wormleighton) and
                                                                          Lady Penelope Wriothesley 1636

Chancel

Stained Glass Window - The Adoration of the Lamb by Edward Byrne Jones (William Morris school) 1912 presented to the Church by 6th Earl Spencer.  Note the beautiful colours and the elongated figures.
Marble floor - 1904 given by the 5th Earl Spencer


A booklet on the history of St Mary's is available in the Church.