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St. Mary's Church


St Mary’s Church dominates the centre of Broughton and stands majestically on The High Street. It can be safely dated from around the year 1066. The small round tower with its small apse formed the original church.

Later the Normans enlarged the Church adding a nave and chancel. In 1824 records show that the Church had become very dilapidated and so over the next few years extensive repairs were carried out. The Church was restored and given a new roof and new pews.

At the end of the First World War the Anderson Chapel was restored at a cost of £500 and became known as the Anderson Memorial Chapel in memory of the 31 men of Broughton who lost their lives in the Great War. A stone tablet lists their names and the names of the men who died in the Second World War have been added to it.

The present organ in the Church was constructed out of parts from an existing organ in the Church and from parts from an organ from Christ Church, Cannes in France. Entry into the grounds of St Mary’s is through a Lychgate built in memory of Eliza Ball Holt.

Important Parts of a Church

The font is a place for storing holy water, which is used to baptise people, (usually children.) People being christened have the holy water sprinkled on their heads. In some churches it is by the main entrance, to symbolise entry into the church. The font in St Mary’s Church was the gift of Louisa Wright in 1861.

The pulpit is a raised platform in church from which a sermon (religious lecture) is preached. The word comes from the latin word pulpitum which meant platform or stage. It stands at the front of the nave and is quite high, so people can see the preacher and to show how important the word of God is. The pulpit in St Mary’s was donated by the wife and family of John Holt and is dated 1915.

The altar in Christian churches is a table on which bread and wine used during communion are consecrated (made holy by prayer.) Other religions before Christianity used altars as a place to sacrifice animals, so altars are a reminder that Christ was sacrificed for us. They symbolise the presence of God in a church and they are usually in the East End of the church, nearest Jerusalem.

The chalice is a drinking cup, (often made of gold or silver,) and is used to hold the wine during the communion. The priest puts it on the altar and prays to consecrate the wine (make it holy) before giving some to each person who comes and kneels at the altar rail during communion. It is usually kept near the plate (platen,) which holds the communion bread or wafers.

The lectern is a reading desk or book stand from which the bible is read in church. Its name comes from the word Legere, which is Latin for to read. Often the book rest where the bible stands is shaped like an eagle, which is the symbol of Saint John, who wrote one of the gospels (books in the bible which tell the story of the life of Christ.) The lectern in St Mary’s Church is dated 1908 and marks the Golden Wedding of Peter and Mary Barton.

The aisle is a passageway between the areas of seating or pews, usually going from the back to the front (west to east) of the building. A church or chapel may have side aisles parallel to the main, central one.

The apse is a semi-circular recess built sometimes at the east end of a church in place of a chancel or at the eastern end of the chancel.

The chancel is the section of the church where the choir sits. It is often separated from the nave, or main body of the church, by a screen and perhaps by one or two steps. The altar is usually at the eastern end of the chancel.

The choir stalls are the benches in the chancel where the choristers are seated. Here, instead of facing east as the pews do in the nave, the choir stalls face north or south so that the choristers look across to each other.

The nave is the main body of the church, where the members of the congregation are seated.

The pews are the benches where members of the congregation are seated. Some churches have chairs rather than pews. In some very old churches you will find box pews - pews with very high sides, backs and fronts.

The rood screen is the screen dividing the nave from the chancel, often with a cross (or rood) mounted above it. The rood screen in St Mary’s is dedicated to the memory of Thomas Booth Wright who was rector at the Church from 1842-1881.

The transept in a church runs from north to south and usually separates the nave from the chancel. It is rectangular in shape and sticks out like the arms of a cross.

St Mary's Church and Broughton Chapel