Brampton Old Church

The original parish church of Brampton lies within the site of a Roman fort about a mile west of the centre of the town.

About this church

In the late 1st century AD the Romans built a series of forts stretching from east to west between the Tyne and the Solway, joined by a road known as Stanegate. The forts predated Hadrian's Wall and one was erected above the River Irthing.

After the Romans withdrew a community grew up to the southwest. Local tradition says that in the late 4th century St Ninian built a church and holy well within the earthwork walls of the old Roman fort. Ninian dedicated his church and holy well to his teacher, St Martin of Tours.


Some 800 years later a stone church was erected on the site of Ninian's church, beside the northeast ramparts of the Roman fort. This second church, like the first, was dedicated to St Martin, and served as the parish church for the growing settlement of Brampton. Stones to build the church were robbed from Hadrian's Wall.

The first documentary evidence of Brampton Old Church comes in AD 1179 when it is mentioned as a gift to Lanercost Priory. During the 14th century a fortified tower was added to the west end of the church to protect it from raids during the Border Wars. The settlement was forced to move from its place beside the River Irthing when the local lord wanted to enclose the area to create a deer park, but the inhabitants continued to worship in the Old Church for over 600 years.

The church was finally declared redundant in 1978 and all the internal furnishings were taken away. It now stands alone within the ramparts of the Roman fort, with only a farmhouse for company.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Enchanting atmosphere
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Wildlife haven
  • Social heritage stories
  • National heritage here

Visitors information

  • Bus stop within 100m
  • Level access to the main areas
  • Car park at church

Other nearby churches

CumbriaBRAMPTONStMartin(jaynepotts)1

St Martin

St Martin's church is a 'very remarkable building with windows glowing with gemstone colours' according to architectural historian Nikolaus Pevsner.

CumbriaLANERCOSTLanercostPriory(jaynepotts)1

Lanercost Priory

Set in a tranquil rural landscape, surrounded by fields and overlooked by Hadrian's Wall, Lanercost forms a magnificent and fascinating complex of historic buildings.

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St Thomas a Becket

Built in 1860 to an Athony Salvin design the building replaced the earlier church dating to 1169. The only remains is the dedication board to George the first. The church was funded by subscription, the donors included The Earl of Carlisle, Robert Stephenson MP and John Bell, father of Joseph Bell Chief Engineer on the RMS Titanic. A memorial to the Titanic engineers is part of the family head stone in the church yard.

Supported by National Churches Trust, for people who love church buildings