Long ago Saxon settlers made their home in this corner of the Saunderton valley, building a Church on the current site. The name probably derives from “Brada’s homestead” or “broad valley home”. By the time of the great Domesday survey the Village was well established, Lewin of Newenham being the landowner. Lewin’s tenants, Suarting and Herding, it is recorded, “…hold Bradenham of the king, and are taxed for two hides of land. There is land for two ploughs, and there are two, with two villeins. It was always valued at twenty shillings…”

The earliest part of the present Parish Church, dedicated to St. Botolph, is the nave, dating from 1100. The southern doorway, of the same date, protected by a modern porch, is reputedly the oldest church doorway in Buckinghamshire. The remainder of the building dates from the fourteenth century onwards, the north chapel being added in 1542. A new chancel was built in 1863. The western tower, of two stages, with a clock to the west, has a turret on the northern side and diagonal buttresses. The building, of dressed flint and hewn blocks of ‘Denner Hill’ stone, is a fine example of the use of various local building materials.

“Bradenham House belonged formerly to Lord Windsor, and was visited by Queen Elizabeth in 1566; was the death-place, in 1848, of D’Israeli, the author of “Curiosities of Literature;””
John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer. 1872

In the medieval tower hang two of the oldest bells in England. They bear the inscription “Michael de Wymbis me fecit.” The company was producing bells in Norman England and still flourished about 1300 when these were cast. It has been suggested they were not made for Bradenham, but were probably purchased second hand from another local Church. They are regarded as being two of the very few remaining bells by this founder.

The Church contains a tablet to Isaac Disraeli and his wife, both of whom lie at rest here.

The lychgate, built by Ward and Turner of Speen, was erected in honour of those of this Parish who gave their lives in the Great War, and leads from the Green into the churchyard.

Near to the south-east corner of the chancel, in the neatly maintained churchyard, is a tombstone, dated 1746, which is a listed monument. This records two noble benefactors of the Church, Edward and John Lambeth. Inside the Church is an example of their patronage, the existing altar, given by Edward in 1742.


Peter Goodearl