Click here to see more pictures of the church from the guide book.

The Family Tree
showing the descent of Broughton in the families of Wykeham, Fiennes and Twistleton.

Ready for its close-up
by Stephen Lacey, an article on the castle's garden from the Daily Telegraph's colour supplement published on July 31st 2004.

Focus on Broughton Castle
by Julia Abel-Smith, Historic House Association magazine, Winter 2002.

Broughton Castle, Oxfordshire
by Harry Gordon Slade, reprinted from The Archeological Journal, Vol 135, for 1978, and published by the Royal Archeological Institute.

The Parish Church of Saint Mary Broughton with North Newington
published by Broughton and North Newington Parochial Church Council

A Church Steeped in History

Pamphlet on the architectural history of the Parish Church of St Mary BroughtonIn a region of beautiful village churches that of Broughton with North Newington is outstanding for its size, its beauty and for the continuity of its history and worship.

The first recorded rector of the parish, which has always covered both villages, was presented in 1224. His name was Benedict de Raley. The Norman font of the 12 th century may be a survival of an earlier church; but if so nothing remains of its structure.

The church as seen today is essentially the creation of a single family in the early 14 th century, enlarging and rebuilding an earlier church of which some 13 th century remnants may still be seen, notably the arcade separating the nave from the south aisle. The architectural style of the church was transitional from early English to decorated.

One may marvel at the inspiration of the family of Broughton, named after the village, who composed on this lovely site the symphony of manor house and church, hewn from local quarries of honey-coloured stone. Its setting, among gentle hills and valleys, is at the confluence of two brooks (hence the village name) whose flow was engineered into a broad moat as attractive to swans and a variety of wild life as at is to parishioners and visitors. The setting inspired craftsmen then, as it still inspires a lively parish and congregation who care for and maintain their heritage.

Little is known of the Broughtons. They were certainly living on the castle site early in the 13 th century. The last male heir died about 1376. the creative member of the family was John of Broughton who died in 1315; he was a knight of King Edward I and it was evidently he, inspired by what he saw on his travels, who brought craftsmen skilled in architecture, in the chiseling of stone into forms which still talk to us down the centuries, and in the pictorial representation of bible stories on the church walls, visual sermons to educate the then illiterate parishioners.

Sir John's Tomb

Sir John's tomb, restored in the last century to something like its garish medieval colours, is built into the east end of the south wall of the south aisle. The tomb is partly obscured by another which is empty and seems not to be in its original place. The evidence indicates that is was built for Edward Fiennes who died in 1528 and was husband of Margaret Danvers of Dauntsey, Wilts., where there is a similar tomb. It is a mystery why a man under thirty years of age had such an elaborate tomb built for himself and why he was not buried in it.

Each visitor will find for himself what most pleases him of John of Broughton's work, continued by his and grandson.

The broach spire grows as naturally in the watered valley as do the great trees.

The stone rood screen separating nave from chancel smiles with the portraits of its sculptors; once it had above it a rood loft with a crucifix over all.

The 14 th century wall paintings, of which a sample has been restored, were of exceptional quality and shows Italian influence. Those in the chancel illustrated the five joys of the virgin and her death. Two seraphims, scarcely identifiable on the east wall, are similar to those in St. Gabriel's chapel, Canterbury. There is a small crucifixion on the westernmost pillar of the nave, by the font.

The evidence is clear that one designer was responsible for the church decoration and for the contemporary work in the manor house, now called the castle. Designs in the south porch of the church are exactly repeated in a vaulted passage in the castle. The church floor still holds a few early fourteenth century patterned tiles, identical with those in the castle chapel. It is nearly seven centuries since Broughton feet first walked on them.

The Work of Sir Gilbert Scott

Later generations have, with a few periods of relapse, cared well for John of Broughton's work, making few changes and those on the whole not regrettable ones.

Towards the end of the 14 th century the walls of the south aisle were raised and clerestory windows were added. In the 15 th century the similarly heightened, and a large perpendicular style window replaced a smaller window at the east end of the south wall of the aisle. More light was needed.

At some time, probably in the 18 th century, a flat roof was inserted in the chancel cutting short the height of the east window. In the second half of the 19 th century Sir Gilbert Scott and his son G. G. Scott carried out a restoration; among other work they rebuilt the chancel roof to its original height and inserted new tracery of decorated style in the east window. One of the beauties of the local stone is its facility so quickly to blend with the new with the old.

The altar rails are 17 th century.

Internal Embellishments

The 19 th century was a great period for church restorations. Broughton was lucky that the Scotts, father and son, were chosen for the work, as they were also at the castle.

It was too a period of internal embellishment. The pulpit dates from the time of the Victorian restoration. The lectern was given by the officers and men of the Ninth Lancers in memory of their commanding officer who died in 1875. The two- manual organ is by George Holdich who built many organs, particularly for village churches in the mid-19 th century. Many have been 'improved' but this one remains, happily, in its original form. It was built for Adderbury Church in 1849 and bought by Broughton in 1877.

Apart from small remnants in the east window of the south aisle, there is nothing left of an earlier wealth of heraldic glass, the coloured glass in the windows is Victorian; it can be dated by the inscriptions. The most unusual, though some may think not the most beautiful, is the Munich glass in the west window of the south aisle dated 1866. It was given by Ellen Twisleton but not completed until after her early death; she, whose memorial is on the east wall of the south aisle, was the daughter of Edmund Dwight, senator of the State of Massachusetts, a late continuation of Broughton's connections with America which were founded early in the 17 th century.

The bells are of the 19 th century. The clock, unusually accurate, was made by Cooke of York and erected in1864; it cost 355.

The Hatchments

The church is rich in memorials of rectors and residents; there is a particularly fine collection of ten hatchments, the earliest of 1666, the latest of 1847.

Hatchments, diamond shaped canvases bearing the coats of arms of persons who have died, are a subject for specialists; memorials are for genealogists and historians. There are however a few at Broughton which have wider interest.

After the death of the last Broughton the estate and advowson of the church were bought by William of Wykeham in 1377; he was a bishop of Winchester, founder of Winchester College and of New College, Oxford. The Wykehamical connection has remained strong; the church memorials, many bearing the Wykeham arms, bear witness to that continuity.

The Tombs

The effigies as now placed seem designed to confuse. At the east end of the south aisle an effigy of a 14 th century knight, much scraped down, lies on the badly restored 1501 tomb of Richard Fiennes. The knight is probably the son or grandson of Sir John of Broughton.

In the chancel effigies of a man and a woman lie on a rough altar tomb, under the remains of the canopy of a destroyed chantry with stone paneling on the wall. Any historical detective is invited to solve the mystery. It seems likely that the chantry was built in the second half of the 14 th century; it may have been a chantry founded in 1356 by Sir Thomas of Broughton for the souls of his family. If so, it was not designed as a tomb and the effigies are later intruders. The lady, in dress of the early 15 th century and wearing the Lancastrian SS collar, is probably Elizabeth Wykeham, wife of Sir Thomas Wykeham who was great nephew and heir of William of Wykeham; she was daughter of William and Elizabeth Wilcotes whose fine effigies, strikingly similar to that at Broughton, lie in a beautiful fan-vaulted chantry in North Leigh church, between Witney and Oxford. Her sister, Philippa Byschoppesdon, grandmother of King Richard III's minister William Catesby (the cat of "the cat, the rat and Lovel our dog rule all England under the hog"), lies under a fine brass in the south aisle, dated 1414.

The Knight, wearing a Yorkist collar of suns and roses, dressed in armour of about 1470, is probably her grand-daughter's husband the second Lord Saye and Sele who was killed at the battle of Barnet in 1471.

At the west end of the chancel are the altar tombs of William Fiennes (1662). First Viscount Saye and Sele, called 'old Subtlety', and of his wife Elizabeth Temple (1648). William was a prominent puritan and parliamentary leader in the 1630s and 1640s, who opposed Charles I's efforts to rule without parliament. He raised in the Banbury area a regiment of blue-coats and four troops of horse which fought at Edgehill in 1642, later opposing the execution of the King and the dictatorship of Cromwell. He was a shareholder in the East India Company, one of the founders of the Providence Island Company and a co-founder of Saybrook in Connecticut which was partly named after him. His funeral helm and gauntlets hang on the wall above his tomb.

Mary Burrell's hatchment

The earliest hatchment, of 1666, is at the east end of the north wall of the south aisle. It commemorates Mary Burrell, wife of Richard Fiennes, fourth surviving son of William Fiennes. Her tomb, supporting an unusual brass, isby the north wall of the chancel; two of her many children, who died as infants, are commemorated on the south wall of the south aisle. She was the only daughter of Andrewes Burrell of Wisbech in Cambridgeshire; her grandfather William Burrell, a commissioner of the Royal Navy, married Mary, sister of Lancelot Andrewes Bishop of Winchester, one of the translators of the authorized version of the bible.

Seven Centuries of Worship

The church still lives, as it has for nearly seven centuries, the active centre of an active and productive community. The two villages provide a full church at major festivals. The parish has a parochial school named after Bishop Harry Carpenter (Bishop of Oxford 1955 - 71) sited at North Newington. The parish contributes to the maintenance of the premises and has collected a capital sum for new buildings when these are authorized. The four Almhouses in Broughton village were erected in 1859 by Miss Elizabeth Wyatt in memory of her sister. They are administered by locally elected Trustees who have modernized the properties in recent years. There is a thriving Sunday Group for children.

The small community has maintained both the stones and the spirit of its inheritance to a standard of which Sir John of Broughton must be proud. With some outside help £6,000 has recently been spent on renovating the organ; the work was done by Hill Norman and Beard; the organ was rededicated on 3 April 1977 by the Archbishop of York. Fabric repairs in 1980 cost £10,000 of which a community found a substantial part.

If you have been pleased, interested and inspired by your visit, we hope you will add to our own contributions through the box in the wall by the church door, or more substantially to the Vicar of Bodicote, Banbury, Oxfordshire, who is the priest in charge. The Victoria History of the County of Oxford Vol IX (Bloxham Hundred) and Pevsners' Oxfordshire contain further information.