St Mary Magdalene, Brampton
This, the oldest part of the present church, was built in the fourteenth century. The crowned head above the little door on the south side probably represents Edward I, the reigning monarch of the time. The head on the north side, opposite, is thought to be that of the master builder of the time.
The stained glass windows in the church are particularly fine examples of the art and most are by the famous Edwardian glassmakers Kempe and Tower.The east window has a central theme of the Kings of David's line, and the Son of David Himself. The lower lights on the north side show King Edward the Confessor who owned the Royal Manor and hunted in the parish; and next to him St George. Those on the south side depict St Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, in which Diocese Brampton was originally; and next to him St Ethelreda, foundress and first Abbess of Ely, in which Diocese Brampton is today. The window is in memory of the Eighth Earl of Sandwich whose face can be seen surmounting the boot of the figure at the top of the second light from the right.
The curtain behind the altar was originally part of the hangings in Westminster Abbey for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953.
In the sanctuary are three choir stalls whose original position was probably against the screen, facing eastwards. They are of unusually early date, c. 1350. It is rare to find woodwork earlier than this. They are misericords (or hinged seats) and the carvings are worth close examination as they depict village life and occupations. These stalls unaccountably 'went missing' during the nineteenth century and were found in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. They were returned to Brampton at a cost of £30(!) on the written assurance that they would not be allowed to leave the church again.
A Dutch baptismal dish with two hands of running stags with hounds, a medallion of the Annunciation, and two dates, 1618 and 1697, can also be seen. The chancel flooring of white and grey stone crosses follows the design of the sanctuary flooring of Ypres Cathedral but this has been partly obscured by the carpet. Because of its situation and the proximity of the Royal Air Force station, a number of references to the military history of the area may be seen in the church.The tall candlesticks are silver-plated wood and were made by a Former Churchwarden.
The prayer desk and kneeler commemorate a former rector, Archdeacon Knowles, after whom a Brampton street is named. The communion rails are early seventeenth century.The wooden screen separating the chancel from the nave is late fourteenth century and is the only complete specimen in the former county of Huntingdonshire. Near to the screen is a small square window below the larger one. This 'sanctus' window was originally closed by a wooden shutter. During the medieval Mass the server, having rung the hand-bell inside the church would open the window and ring the bell outside so that anyone not in the church would know that the most solemn moments of the service were taking place. The Sanctus bell now hangs in the tower but is not mounted for normal ringing.The window in the north wall, in memory of Isabella Budge, wife of a former rector, shows four scenes from the life of St Mary Magdalene who is not depicted in any other window in the church. Part of the vestry is as old as the chancel, and the difference in the outer wall can easily be seen. The vestry was extended to its present size to mark Queen Victoria's Jubilee in 1870.