St Bridget’s church, a Grade I listed building, may have originally been part of a nunnery. The south arcade dates from 1180-90. The west tower is tunnel-south aisle chantry chapel. The font is 17th century. The canopied tomb in the south aisle dates from c1337.
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Two windows in the church date from the 15th century, and another is in memory of William Wordsworth’s son John, who served as a vicar of the church for 40 years. Some of the windows were restored in 1864-76 by Butterfield. In addition he added the stenciling to the interior of the roof and the saddleback roof to the towers, dated 1220. A narrow, steep staircase leads to the top of the tower.
In the graveyard are hundreds of 17th and 19th century carved stones. A table tomb is that of the father of Fletcher Christian of Mutiny on the Bounty fame. Fletcher Christian was baptised in the vaulted and dates from the early 13th century, as does the south doorway. The twin lancet bell openings are original. Pre-Norman carved stones are in the 14th century church.
A local legend states that there once was a tunnel from St Bridget’s church to the Wheatsheaf Inn. Another legend relates to the former hangman of Brigham, named Joseph Wilson. He committed suicide in 1757 by jumping from a bridge and was said to haunt the church afterwards. In 1860 his skull was dug up from the graveyard by the rector and taken to his former house. Apparently that was the end of the sightings of his ghost.
St Bridget’s church is located in the village of Brigham off the A66 west of Cockermouth.
Photos by Alexander Knapp courtesy Geograph.org.uk