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The first recorded Vicar arrived at St Peter’s in 1223 and the church has been here for the people of Brackley ever since. Across the centuries the church has witnessed world wars and civil war, plagues and disasters, and through it all remained a place of worship and refuge for parishioners, non-churchgoers and visitors alike.


Read on for some highlights from the last 800 years. 

History anchor
Interior of St Peter's Church Brackley
OS map of Brackley and surroundings

1086 Brackley appears in the Domesday Book as ‘Brachelai’.


1100 Although there was likely a church on this site in Saxon times, it was the Normans who started work in earnest on St Peter’s. The beautifully carved archway over the south doorway is their handiwork.


1223 Robert de la Hay is recorded as the first Vicar of St Peter’s Brackley, the anniversary we are celebrating this year!


1300s The north aisle, stone font and side chapel were added.


1348-1350 The bubonic plague swept across Europe and Brackley didn’t escape. St Peter’s had five  successive vicars in those short years, with two dying in less than a year of each other.

1440 The church building was largely complete.


1623 The Brackley Morris Men presented the church with a silver paten, a tradition which continues to this day whenever 1 May falls on a Sunday.


1627 Robert Sybthorpe, Vicar of Brackley, preached and published a sermon supporting the Royalist cause. It caught the attention of King Charles I, who made him a Royal Chaplain.

1628 Five of the eight bells we hear today were installed by Hugh Watts from Leicester. The sixth bell was cast in 1890 by John Taylor of Loughborough. 

1729 Thomas Hilton died. He was St Peter's longest serving Vicar, clocking up 51 years!

1746 Poet Mary Leapor died of measles in Brackley and was buried in the churchyard. A memorial plaque is displayed in the side chapel.


1834 St James' Church (which was also run by the Vicar of St Peter's and sat near where Mercedes is now) was demolished. That's why our full name now is "St Peter with St James, Brackley".

1850s The stained glass windows by the organ were created by O’Connor.

1869 The churchyard was expanded due to health concerns about overcrowding. The then Vicar, Francis Thicknesse, also acquired new, lower pews and improved much of Brackley's drainage system.



1871 Feed My Lambs school was started in partnership with St Peter’s on the High Street. Today the school is known as Brackley Junior School and is located on Manor Road, but it retains its strong connection with the church.


1879 Brooke de Malpas Egerton became Vicar of St Peter’s and launched some major changes to the fabric of the building. This included the installation of choir stalls and building of the vestry.




1901 Stained glass windows in the side chapel by Charles Kempe were commissioned.


1977 The Victorian organ, by Henry Jones of London, was moved to its current location.

1998 The church hall was built along with toilets and a kitchen for the growing parish.

Brackley townscape in the 18th century
St Peter's Church Brackley engraved by W Robt Dickinson
Morris Men Paten presentation 2016
Feed my Lambs school 1893

2023 St Peter’s celebrates 800 years of Christian community in Brackley!

Feed My Lambs, 1893

Before and after the removal of the high pews

St Peter's Church Brackley
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