The original Brook Church

The church was originally a ‘chapel of ease’ to Freshwater church, and during the 13th century there was a long dispute and lawsuit between St John’s College Cambridge, the patrons of Freshwater and the Bowerman family, the lords of Brooke Manor.  The  Bowerman family claimed the patronage of Brooke, maintaining it was a separate parish. The rectors of Freshwater maintained Brooke was within their parish and that all tithes and rights belonged to them. This dispute rumbled on to the 16th century occasionally breaking out into court actions.    

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Thomas Bowerman, Lord of Brooke Manor, was one of the Committee that governed the Island from 1643. This meant Bowerman wielded considerable power over most matters throughout the Island and he seized the chance to establish Brooke as a parish by endowing it with parochial trappings. He railed in a piece of his ground as a churchyard, provided a register book, encouraged the inhabitants of Brook to bury their dead in Brook burial ground, allowed them to hold christenings and marriages and to receive the sacraments there and, finally, demanded that people living in Brooke ‘parish’ pay their tithes to the person that he, Bowerman, had presented as ‘rector’.  The dispute between Freshwater and Brooke erupted again after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and continued for many years until it was finally terminated in favour of Brooke.

In 1728 the church had a small porch and the parishioners agreed to replace it by building a tower for one bell which would be paid for by a parish rate. This forms the basis of the present tower which was later strengthened and raised to house eight bells