Churches and the Chapel

The little chamber organ was built by George England in 1770 but was, interestingly, not installed until 1957.

In 1870 heating was added in the form of a coal stove. In 1906 a village row erupted when the stove was no longer lit on Saturday but early on Sunday morning.

The Church of St Peter and St Paul dates from the 12th century. It was a private chapel to the Manor and a ‘daughter’ to the church of Calbourne.

If there are threads that connect the past rectors of Brooke they appear to be a love of music, of learning, and, especially, of cricket. Mrs Morris, who was 84 years old in 1958, said: I can remember six rectors but it seemed to me their wives ran the parish bar the sermon. See Rectors under People.

Children’s memories of their more eccentric elders are always vivid. Sue Mears (Stone) remembers how: Grandad Joe Morris always sat at the back of the Church, which probably dated back to when he was in the lifeboat and meant that if there was ‘a call’ he was always ready to go. He was a bit deaf in later life and when he sung ‘Eternal Father strong to save,’ he would sing every word, but just a bit behind everyone else. 

In 1862 Brook Church was totally destroyed by a fire. Mr Seely, then the lord of the manor, offered to give a piece of land and rebuild the church more in the centre of the village.

In this 1880s photograph of a sewing party at Mottistone Manor Farm the rector appears to be reading from the scriptures as the ladies work. 

This sewing party photographed in the same place in the 1960s includes in the back row: Mrs Summerfield, D.Smith, Mrs Johnson and far right, Miss Dora Hookey, past Hulverstone schoolmistress; front row: Mrs Roberts, Mrs Smith, Mrs Stone, Mrs Morris, Mrs Austin and Mrs Sheath. 

The lifeboat memorial plaques in Brook Church show the pride the community had in their role in saving lives on the often treacherous strip of coast off Brook and Compton. The Testimonial, from the Captain of S.S.Triton: One the most humble captain of the Spanish Merchant Navy, is moving in the strength of its appreciation for the lifeboat crew and the whole village.

Avice Mariner (French) lived in Ivy Cottage and remembers attending Brook and Mottistone churches as a young girl in the 1950s and 60s:  

We attended Sunday school in various locations, Hulverstone School, The Elms, Brook Church and the Seely Hall. We were members of the Brook Church choir and even had robes.

The East window serves as a memorial to those who fell in the 1914-18 war with their names carved in the glass of the window.  Two slender pillars in front of the East window are said to be made of polished stone from the fossilised forest in Brook Bay. The pulpit and font are of marble and were given by Miss Bowerman, in memory of her sister and her father, a former rector. The reredos (the ornamental screen at the back of the altar), was presented by Mrs Fenwick in memory of her husband, rector from 1833-1856.    

Chapel Trustees, March 1848:


Henry HartCordwainerBrook

Barnabus GroveCarpenterBrook

Isaac LoweBlacksmithBrook

Edward WardYeomanShalfleet

James GuttridgeLabourerShalfleet

George HendyLabourerMottistone

Peter PlumbleyLabourerMottistone

Mark FallickLabourerMottistone

Andrew JackmanBricklayerBrixton 

Charles JackmanBricklayerBrixton

The Bible Christians commenced preaching at Brook in 1835. Services were held fortnightly on Sunday evenings in barns and members’ houses.

There were clearly concerns about morals in Brook and the following account was used to prove how necessary the preaching of the gospel was at this time.

The date of the original church is uncertain, but in the thirteenth year of the reign of Edward III (1325) the local dean’s return to Bishop Woodlock names Brook as a chapel endowed with the tithes of the Manor of Compton and charged with a pension of seven shillings to the mother church of Freshwater.