St Mary Magdalene (Broughton in Furness)
12th century St Mary Magdalene is not strictly in the village of Broughton in Furness itself, and it is not known why. It may have been, at the time it was built, that it was sited on the estuary shore to make it more convenient for transporting stone for building. The church today is an amalgamation of additions over the centuries.
At first the church was a chapelry of Kirkby Ireleth (York diocese). Of this original church the Norman doorway and the stones in the wall between the porch and tower are the only remnants left.
St Mary Magdalene was moved to the diocese of Chester in 1541. Six years later the graveyard was consecrated and a brand new sanctuary was added to the church. In 1738 a north aisle was added; a south aisle followed in 1758. A tower was added in 1782. At this time a gallery was also added, and the rush floor was paved. Murals were painted on the wall.
St Mary Magdalene once again switched dioceses in 1856 when it came under the jurisdiction of Carlisle. At this time the north and south aisles and gallery were removed, a new nave was constructed, and windows were added in the Norman style. Gothic arches joined the new and old naves. The south wall of the church was replaced, and a new tower was built. In the tower was a ring of eight bells, to be augmented to 10 in 1980, then 12 in 1994.
When visiting look for the three lighted lancet east window behind the organ and the window above the piscina in the south-east corner as well as the priest's door. All of these date from 1547. Also near the organ is an original 15th century church bell. In the glass case near the organ is a copy of a Bishop's Bible (printed before 1611). An oak church chest is dated 1735.
Some of the stained glass windows located in the west wall and north nave wall are by Charles Kempe. An Edward Burne-Jones window done for William Morris and Co. is located in the south aisle. Time your visit for the spring to see the churchyard full of snowdrops, daffodils, and crocus. The church holds regular Anglican services.
Photos by Barbara Ballard
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