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Brading Church 1859

REF NR: 1663

The church is sometimes referred to as the oldest on the island. In actuality, it occupies the site of the very first edifice for Christian worship. The church itself, however, is not the oldest. That honour belongs to the neighbouring one of Yaverland.


Still, Brading Church is very old and interesting. It is of good dimensions and together with body, chancel and aisles, it can boast some grand round pillars with fine Norman capitals and pointed arches supported by them. There is a very sweet and pleasant association with Brading, from its connection with Legh Richmond, the gentle and pious author of The Dairyman's Daughter, The Young Cottager and other religious works, which have been always wry and useful relating to our country and which have lost nothing of their popularity even to the present day. This excellent man was for some time curate of Brading. The churchyard of Brading is very often visited, not only for the fine prospect it commands, but also (perhaps chiefly) for the sake of some of the inscriptions on its tombstones. One of these are to the memory of "Jane, the Young Cottager" - heroine of Mr. Legh Richmond's remarkably popular little tale, the sale of which was quite unprecedented in the history of religious literature. Another is to the memory of Mrs. Ann Berry and contains the lines beginning “Forgive, blest shade, the tributary tear,” which, having been wedded to exquisite music by Dr. Galcott, have thus obtained a celebrity which they might not otherwise have reached.


The heroine of The Dairyman's Daughter, another equally popular little work by the same author, was also connected with this neighbourhood. We find, indeed, numerous passages in Mr. Richmond's works, descriptive of the scenery in this locality. Despite its beauty and literary significance, Brading has never been a place of general resort - either to the elite of the island or to strangers making a temporary sojourn. It must be confessed that taking all things into account, it is not nearly as flourishing or progressive as we might expect it to be.

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