8.00am Holy Communion BCP
10.30am Holy Communion Common Worship or 1st Sunday of the month, All-Age Service
Our 10.30 service offers something for all ages. Each week we listen to God speak to us from the Bible, we praise him with great songs and hymns and we come to him in prayer. After the service there are refreshments. We’d love to meet you!
At 8.00, come for a quiet, spoken service using the beautiful and timeless Book of Common Prayer, featuring clear teaching from the Bible.
Each week we run a range of activities at St Mary’s. Find out about these by clicking on the ‘about’ menu tab.
About the Building
The church of St Mary the Virgin, was built in 1822 on the outskirts of Bransgore village. The original church was shaped like a shoe-box with eight windows and a tower, built of brick with a slate roof. A great deal of slate was used to help the Welsh miners earn a living although it would have been cheaper to use brick tiles because Bransgore was full of brick-making kilns.
The church is probably one of the so-called ‘Million’ churches; named so because in 1822 the Government set aside £1m to build churches in poor rural areas. The money came from reparations paid by France to Britain to compensate for losses during the 22 year-long war which ended in 1815; the church cost around £1,500 to erect.
Significant restoration and enlargement followed in 1873 and the church was altered to its present shape. The square end was demolished and an apse built on for a new alter area and clergy vestry.
Three stained glass windows were also put in about this time and show the three bible stories of Jesus being born at Bethlehem, being crucified at Calvary, and coming back to life on Easter day. It is thought that the church spire was added around this time; it was removed in 1967-68 as it was deemed by the Diocesan Architect to be unsafe.
School House, depicted here in the postcard, next to the Church was demolished in the 1980s and replaced by the current Resource Centre. School House was the official residence of the ‘School Master’ but at least since 1929 had been let to teachers at the school.” Henry Wilberforce founded the first school in Bransgore opposite the Church in 1840, which after the building of the second school (c.1900), was rebuilt in the form of a School Room and Church Cottage. The School Room became a ‘free’ school for those who could not afford the 2 pence (2D) a week to pay for their education.
When all education became free this was used as an annexe to the main school and as a Church Hall. The Verger/ Caretaker lived in Church Cottage. The land for the Church car park and Resource Centre was purchased from the sale of the Church Room and Cottage which has since been converted in to two houses.
The beautiful font in St Mary’s Church was given to the parish by Christchurch Priory. It was carved around 1509 for Prior John Draper – the last Prior of Christchurch before the Reformation. His initials JD are to be found under the corners of the bowl at its base. The font is still used for baptisms on a regular basis and was restored and re-dedicated on Easter Day 2004 By Revd Canon Patrick Elkins to give thanks for the Christian ministry of all church people over many years.
We would like to thank Revd Canon Patrick Elkins for all his help and guidance in putting together the information for this page.
Open the PDF attachment below to see a more in-depth history written by Revd Canon Patrick Elkins during his incumbency in 1987