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13th Century Church
of St. Margaret

The Parish Church of St. Margaret is a much loved building.  Braceby is one of 7 parishes in the NORTH BELTISLOE Group of Parishes.  To learn more about the churches in the Group click the link on this page.
The Church dates from the 13th Century. It is a testimony to 800 years of occupation of Braceby village. The building has been altered over the centuries, and this evolution is clearly evident in the fabric itself.

The church is small, 36 ft. x 22 ft. (11 metres x 6.7 metres). Only the west wall of St. Margaret’s remains as it was originally built eight centuries ago. It shows signs of the later raising of the roof. The 13th Century chancel arch bears traces of the rich red stain used to decorate churches in the Middle Ages.

Braceby's oldest bell

Fragments of medieval glass

The church has a nave and a north aisle. All windows are 14th Century. The blocked archways of a demolished south aisle are visible with re-installed 14th century windows, still with fragments of mediaeval glass in them. The north arcade and chancel arch are 13th Century. The south doorway and the font are 14th Century (Pevsner "Lincolnshire" p177).

The clerestory has 15th Century windows; testament to continued improvement being made throughout the Middle Ages.

The church has two bells in a 13th Century gabled bellcote. The smaller is medieval, dated circa 1200. It is the second oldest in Lincolnshire. The other is dated circa 1500. (Ketteringham "Lincolnshire Bells & Bellfounders" pub. 1995 p44). Braceby church was gradually improved, but funds never ran to the erection of a church tower.

On the left of the door on the wall of the South Porch is a mass dial, a primitive sundial. Mass dials were very common in the medieval period. The main purpose was to show the time of the Mass and only secondly to indicate other times of day. When the South Aisle was demolished this was reinstalled in the porch wall.

There is no longer a rood screen above the Chancel Arch, and documentary evidence records its removal during Elizabeth I's reign but cuts in the stonework indicate where it might have been fixed.

On the north aisle pillar at the back of the church is the beginning of a carved alphabet, letters  a  to  g  in Old English script.

St. Margaret’s contains one 17th Century tomb, and that fairly simple. It is the tomb of Ann Towne, widow of Richard, the then Lord of the Manor.  She died in 1630.  There are three memorials on the wall, one 18th Century, to Richard Torry & his wife, and two 20th Century: a First World War Memorial to sons of the Chevins family, the other to a former villager and benefactor of the Church, Mrs. Farmery.

This lack of ostentatious display again shows a parish that was never rich. There are no coats of arms or evidence of the ‘upper classes’ ever having patronised the church.

The chancel was rebuilt some time in the late 19th Century.   Because of this we can no longer see the chapel with ‘curiously wrought heads of men, foxes, roses, etc.’ mentioned by Edmund Turnor in his 1806 book The Soke of Grantham.  This was the chapel of the Towne family, Lords of the Manor of Braceby in the 1600s.


West end:
original wall, note moulding at base;  bellcote with 2 bells
mass dial on left of porch gate
date of rebuilding on downpipe; reuse of gravestone in north wall

Mass Dial

To look for inside:
By pulpit:
hour glass holder
Tomb stone of Ann Towne 1630
Memorial to Alice wife of Richard Torry 1739
First World War memorial to two Chevins brothers
Evidence on wall that south aisle once existed
Evidence on rear wall of raising of roof

Letters carved on pillar
Was there once a school in the church, or was someone practising their skills?