The earliest reference to the village of Bradmore is in Domesday Book produced in 1086. No mention of a church is included in the entry.
The first church building was probably erected in the early part of the 13th century. It was a single storey construction located in the centre of the village and part of that first building still exists, forming the base of the tower. A second storey and a steeple spire were added or rebuilt in the early 14th century. No records have been located naming the founder of the building. The building was used as a chapel of ease to nearby Bunny church and has apparently never been dedicated to a saint or at least, if it was, it is unknown. The Torre Manuscripts include a document of 1356 ordering that the vicar of Bunny should have ‘all sorts of Oblations belonging to the church and chapel of Bradmore.’
We know that Bradmore was associated with both Bunny and Barton in Fabis. In 1324 it was determined that John de Stoutevill, grandfather of the last John de Stoutevill held the manors of Barton and Bradmore of King Henry III by knight service, and that the manors were held of the heir, and had been so held by his ancestors in knight service. Barton was appropriated by Lenton Priory and Bunny paid the priory a pension contribution and it seems to be a reasonable assumption therefore that Bradmore chapel was also held or associated, but of course generated no income worth recording and so does not figure in tax records. It would be of little interest to Lenton unless it produced, in any given year, a useful return. In 1334 the prior of Lenton complained that ‘John de Houton, parson of the church of Boney, Leonard, prior of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England, John Larcher, one of the brethren of that order, Thomas de Houton, Robert de Newerk, Thomas Baseley, Thomas Margery, Robert de Cottegrave and others mowed his crops and grass at Brademere and Boney, carried away the hay and crops with other of his goods, and assaulted his servants.’
Another record dated 1443 confirms that John Glade of Nottingham bequeathed a vestment for use ‘in the Chapel of Bradmore.’ In 1537 the village was visited by the plague. Less seriously in 1618 one of the churchwardens presented four ‘morris dancers’ to the Archdeaconry Court for ‘profaning the Sabbath day since Whitsunday last.’ The fate of the offenders is not recorded.
In April 1638 a churchwarden of Bradmore reported 'the want of a rail before the communion table; the chancel of the chapel needs paving underfoot; the stalls want paving or boarding underfoot.' In September 1638 it was presented that 'the south side of the chapelyard lies open to the street' and that ' a rail for the communion table' was still wanting.
In 1684 the churchwardens present that 'Bradmore Chappell and its chancel are very ruinous in the roof, walls and every part thereof in the neglect of Sir Tho[mas] Parkins baronet and improprietary.'
In 1650 the Parliamentary Commissioners reported that ‘there was a Chapelle in the said towne of Bradmore belonging to the Parishe church of Bunny, well situated and fit to be made Parishe Church, but its minister, David Ghovan, preached very weakly and inefficiently.’ Only twelve years later in 1662 Thomas Rose, a well-known Puritan preacher who had been ejected from Blidworth vicarage, started preaching at Bradmore and nearby Wysall and West Bridgford. He was imprisoned for six months in Nottingham gaol. However, he returned to preach in the village in the house of Robert Kirkby, assembling a congregation of about twenty who chose to listen to his ministering on Sundays at the time of the church service.
The most significant event in the history of the church occurred in 1705 when a fire raged through the village destroying all in its path including the church, leaving only the tower and spire standing. At that time the village had a population of 300 housed in sixty dwellings. Notice of the fire was given to congregations across the country who were asked to collect ‘money for the sufferers of the fire at Bradmore in the county of Nottingham.’ The parish registers of Knights Enham in Hampshire record that the parishioners donated two shillings and nine pence. Although funds were raised the old church was never repaired and we have no details of its dimensions or furnishings.
|The tower ruins
from the east, c.1835
In 1778 William Bray recorded that ‘the inhabitants (of Bradmore) go the neighbouring church of Bunny’ to worship. This practice continued throughout the 18th and most of the 19th centuries. The tower was not, however, totally redundant as reports of 1834 suggest that the tower was being used as a coal shed and in 1850 the local saddler John Stubbs was using it to spread out his freshly tanned leather to dry it.
At the time of the 1851 Religious Census only one entry for Bradmore was included, it came from the Wesleyan Methodist chapel that recorded that it had a congregation of 48 at the morning service and 167 at the evening service plus a thriving Sunday School with 80 children in attendance.
Restoration of the tower commenced in 1881 when £150 was raised by public subscription. The base of the tower was furnished with seats and a brick-built extension added to the east side of the tower to serve as a mission room. It was described as a ‘quasi-church of limited dimensions.’ Mrs Wilkinson Smith gave set of vestings for the different seasons at a cost of £800. An altar rail was installed crafted from ancient railings formerly used in the chancel vault, a new altar raised on two steps and a brass cross completed the fittings, none of the above are extant. The new church building was initially used for occasional services, and later as a recreational hall.
From 1909 it was also used as the Men’s Institute. In 1910 the Nottinghamshire Guardian described Bradmore as a separate parish now annexed to Bunny. In 1922 the living was rated at a yearly income of £252. The church had 227 acres of glebe and the patron was Albert Ball.
The tower suffered further damage in 1927 when the growth of an elder bush caused damage that needed attention. The Bradmore Tower and Steeple Preservation Committee raised at least £100 towards the cost of the repairs. In 1957 the tower was again damaged, on this occasion by an earth tremor that caused both the tower and the spire to tilt slightly to the west, it was repaired and the weather vane was re-gilded. For the weather vane to work correctly it had to be perfectly perpendicular position thus the top stones of the spire had to be adjusted. The total cost of the repair work was £523.The building was then used again for communion services once a month.
Currently the building is used for regular monthly services and communion, plus baptisms and Sunday school. Only the base of the tower is consecrated. The more modern part of the building also serves as a community hall.