Midgley Web Pages Home Page                   Brayton Parish Church


                                                           St. Wilfrid's Church, Brayton
South doorway -  On the first arch are 'beak-head' carvings of birds, rabbits and men. The second arch displays 'medallions' with the Paschal lamb located in the centre. Medallions five and six [counted from the left] show two knights tilting. Rubbings of the medallions was sent to the Borthwick at York. The third arch is an Arabian style tympanum influenced by the Crusades. The carvings are dated to about 1160 and were probably originally painted. The door is not the original but dates to the 1400's.

There was a Anglian site here before the Norman Church but none of its fabric is now evident. The rectangular tower was originally Norman and is 52 long and 105 feet high with un-buttressed walls, four feet thick. It has a rare 1400's castellated parapet, lantern and spire.

Nave and chancel - The nave is 48 feet long, a balcony was removed in the 1800's. Font- On the font are outline patterns for carvings that were never completed. The iron hooks on the side were to keep the devil out.
The chancel arch - This is the original Norman fabric although much of the Norman stonework was reused in the building. The carvings are of animals and men's heads. Unusually, the chancel is lightly longer than the nave. The tomb of Lord Darcy of Gateforth and Dorothea his wife. The tomb effigies were vandalised during the Cromwellian era. 
Detail of the heraldic arms of Lord Darcy of Gateforth and Dorothea his wife. Note the incorporation of former related family heraldry such as Lucy (3 fish). Grave slab of an unknown person with the brass heraldic shields and plate removed.
Church strong box perhaps dating from the 1300's or earlier. Formerly used for the safe-keeping of church plate and money. Tomb recess or arched niche formerly housing an unknown effigy with a trefoil piscina  to the left originally used for hand washing.
     Detail of Norman animal carvings in the north columns of the chancel arch. Detail of Norman animal carvings in the south columns of the chancel arch, one includes a dragon carved cross two columns.
1. Medallion from the south doorway arch - Two animals, possibly lions,  fighting over a hare or rabbit head ? Hares were native, rabbits were introduced by the Normans into England. Sketches and notes by 'R.W.' 2. There are a pair of wings in this design but no recognisable animal. This sculpture was well cut by a stonemason who was familiar with his tools.
3. Two animals fighting and has been suggested to represent the fight between good and evil but if so it is not evident which is which. 4. A mounted knight. Possibly a Crusader. This medallion sculpture is similar to the next figure (5), with similar helmet, saddle and horse harness. Medallions 4, 5 and 6 are very similar.
5 and 6. Two knights tilting. They appear equally matched with the spear of No. 5 passing harmlessly outwards while no. 6's spear or lance apparently strikes the shield of No. 5. Moustaches were still popular in the 1100's. 6. There is a slightly damaged inverted cross behind this figure. The shields in both figure 5 and 6 are of the typical Norman shape, with tat of No. 6 being pierced by the lance of No. 5.  A chain mail surcoat is evident on this figure.
7. A sunburst, rose or glory. Of unknown meaning, found on the doorway to Birkin Church and elsewhere. 8. A bound man. The almond shape or mandoria was usually used for Christ in Glory, as a symbol of this eg. Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) or on priory seals. The figure may represent Adam. Some theologians proposed that when Jesus descended into hell, Adam was the first to be released. The border lilies, fleur dis lis,  may refer to the Annunciation, predicting that a saviour was on his way to Adam.
9. Agnus Dei, the Lamb of God with a cross. Symbolises the risen Christ, the Sacrificed Lamb. The disc to the right may represent the sun. The lambs tail is undocked. No's 10 -11 not shown here. 13. A Centaur. A mythical animal, half man, half horse. The centaur is firing an arrow backwards without looking at what he is doing. Possibly representing unbridled passions.
14. A woman sitting on a stool. Similar to No. 12 (not shown here) but with loose hair. She is either holding a fan or a palm branch as carried by saints and martyrs to declare their victory. No's 12 to 15 not shown here. 16. A man astride an animal, probably Sampson killing the lion.
17. A bird landing with an object, possibly a flowering fruit. This carving is similar to one found on the doorway to Riccall church. Possibly represents the dove returning to the Ark with an olive branch announcing a deliverance from death. Granodiorite gravestone in St. Wilfrid's, Brayton for William Harling Armitage Midgley# b. 19th January 1863, Almondbury; d. 22nd February 1937, Selby, Also his wife Annie (Brown Forrest), b. 1867,  d. 3rd April 1964) married Pernambuco, Brazil and William, their eldest son, who pre-deceased his mother, 13th September 1957. 

# Note: William Harling Armitage Midgley is descended from the Midgley line of Almondbury which includes Armitage, Talbot and Beaumont lines. See Midgley of Almondbury.

Many Midgleys of Brayton, Hambleton and Burn are found Christened at Brayton Parish Church :-

Name   Christening date  Other
Johnathan Midgeley (sic) 6 May 1782 Father: William                      Mother: Mary
John Midgeley (sic) 14 December 1792 Father: William                      Mother: Elizabeth
Martha Midgley                 - Marriage 23 Nov 1795 Brayton, parish church. Spouse: Robert Lofthouse
Mary Midgley 21 February 1798 Father: William
Elizabeth Midgley 30 Sep 1798 Father: Samuel
William Midgley 26 Aug 1800 Father: Samuel
Samuel Midgley 1 July 1800 Father: William
William Midgley Abt. 1802 Birth abt. 1802. On 1851 census
Samuel Midgley 1803/1804 Birth 1803/1804.On 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 census
David Midgley 10 Sep 1805 Father: Samuel
Joseph Midgley 4 August 1807 Father: Samuel
Mary Midgley 1 Dec 1809 Father: Samuel
William Midgley                 - Marriage 23 Feb 1811 Spouse: Mary Clark
David Midgley 13 July 1813 Father: Samuel                       Mother: Mary                               On 1861 census
Diana Midgley Abt. 1815 Birth abt. 1815                             On 1861 census
Elija Midgeley (sic) 10 Oct 1815 Father: Samuel        Mother: Mary
Jonathan Midgley 14 June1819 Father: Samuel        Mother: Mary
Jonathan Midgley Abt. 1820 Birth abt. 1820                             On 1861, 1871 and 1881 census
Alaina Midgley Abt. 1842 Birth abt. 1842                             On 1861 census
Mary Midgley                   - Marriage 25 Dec 1834 Spouse: John Holey
Mary Midgley Abt. 1856 Birth abt. 1856                             On 1881 census
Mary Midgley Abt. 1858 Birth abt. 1858                             On 1861, 1871 census
Hannah Midgley Abt. 1859 Birth abt 1859                              On 1861, 1871 and 1881 census                                      Father: Jonathan Mother: Harriet
George William Midgley 1860/1861 Birth 1860/1861. On 1871, 1881, 1911 census                              Father: Jonathan                    Mother: Harriet
Mary J. Midgley Abt. 1862 Birth abt. 1862. On 1881 census
Mary Midgley Abt. 1862 Birth abt. 1862. On 1871 census


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© Copyright Tim Midgley 18th July 2023.