St Mary the Blessed Virgin

A church has existed on this site since Saxon times, but the oldest part of the present building dates from 1144.

Brabourne, Kent

Opening times

Open daily dawn to dusk.


The Street
TN25 5LR

Looking from the outside, the structure consists of a squat western tower, a nave with a 13th century south aisle, a chancel, and a south chapel built by Sir William Scott in the 15th century.

The tower began to collapse in about 1700 so the upper stages were taken down and a huge buttress was constructed to strengthen the original 12th century stonework.

There are many important features inside, the most special of which is the eastern most window on the north wall of the chancel. This is the only window in Britain that is complete with Norman glass in its original setting. This window is just as it was in the 12th century, the pattern of the leadwork corresponding in character with the string course beneath.

In the chancel is what is almost certainly a heart shrine, built for the heart of John Baliol, founder of Balliol College, Oxford and father of John Baliol le Scot, King of Scotland. John Baliol died in 1269 and his widow had his heart preserved. She carried it with her in a casket of silver and ivory and it was buried with her in Scotland. Their son later brought the heart back to Brabourne after his defeat by Edward I. Eighteen generations of the Scott family, descended from Baliol, are buried in the church.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • National heritage here

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Famous connections

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

St Mary the Virgin

Hastingleigh, Kent

This beautifully simple building is in a valley about a mile from Hastingleigh village, there may have been a church here in the 6th century, but the present building is largely Norman and Early English.

St James the Great

Elmsted, Kent

Elmstead is little more than a group of farms clustered round their church on the North Downs.

St Mary

Brook, Kent

The mixture of informal path over a little bridge into a churchyard full of trees and shrubs is the perfect introduction to the military looking Norman tower.