In Norman times the river Brede was navigable to the sea, and the village would have been an important trading place. As is typical for important locations, the church at Brede has undergone many additions and changes over the years, in particular a major restoration in 1768, and has examples of many styles of architecture. There is an excellent hand drawn plan of the church on display in the building, which shows the development of the church since about 1140.
The south aisle was added in the 12th century, and the north aisle one hundred years or so later. These two events effectively removed all trace of the original nave. The two aisles are shown below, both looking east.
The tower is 15th century, built at the same time as the Perpendicular chancel, which is slightly further east than its predecessor. The remaining responds of the fourteenth century arches give us a clue as to where the original chapels stood before the chancel was relocated.
This interesting and colourful coat of arms is located on the easternmost side of the arch between the chancel and south chapel and carries the date 1611.
In the east end of the wall between the nave and north aisle can be seen the entrance, stairs and ledge for the late 14th century Rood Screen, destroyed at the time of the Reformation.
The present south chapel is 16th century and contains the tomb chest of Sir Goddard Oxenbridge (d.1537) carrying his effigy in Caen stone. He is depicted in full armour, head resting on his helmet and feet on a lion. His arms are carved on the tomb, which, according to Harrison, on account of the flamboyant tracery may indicate that it was carved by a Frenchman.
The south aisle also contains brasses to Robt. Oxenbridge (1487) and his wife (1492) and to his daughters.
This statue of the patron saint is mounted on the wall on the south side of the chancel arch, and the wooden carving of the Madonna and Child is in the south aisle.
The eastern window has tracery which is elaborate by English standards. The rest of the stained glass windows may be seen by clicking here, or on the image below.
Here are two views of the nave, first looking east, then west.
The font is 15th century and retains some of its painted decoration.
Close to the font is a poor box dated 1687.
The church possesses a fine Willis pipe organ, previously housed in the lady chapel but now on a gallery at the west end. It has two manuals and was built in 1908 for the cost of £475. In 1975 it was completely restored. It has 11 speaking stops.
The north porch is an addition, and the roof contains a very unusual memorial, dated 1665, in the form of an inscribed rain gutter.
Here is a final view of this glorious building from the south.
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