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Name:CHURCH OF ST. MARY & ST. HARDULPH, BREEDON HILL
HER Ref:MLE11335
Parish:Breedon on the Hill, North West Leicestershire, Leicestershire
Grid Reference:SK 405 233
Map:Coming soon

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Early Medieval to Modern - 1101 AD to 2050 AD)

Summary

C12th priory church, reduced to a parish church in 1539. It incorporates carved masonry of C8th from the earlier monastic foundation on site.

Additional Information

After 1539 the priory church was reduced to a parish church.

Listed building description:
Parish Church, formerly the church of an Augustian Priory founded early C12. Incorporates carved masonry of C9 date from monastic foundation formerly on site. Parts of west tower are early C12, raised C14-C15. C13 aisled chancel is now used as nave, and has C14 fenestration to north and south, and C15 clerestory. South porch incorporates some remains of C13 transept but has been much altered. Church much repaired 1784 by Joseph Wyatt, and again in 1900 when interior was stripped of plaster and east windows of chancel were renewed. Ashlar with lead roofs. West tower is of 3 stages with battlemented parapet, carved gargoyles and slender clasping buttresses. C14-C15 2-light traceried openings to bell-chamber, with transoms; small C15 2-light traceried windows with flat heads to north and south below bell-chamber; window to south west stairs. Lower stages have traces of roof-lines of former nave and transepts, and are much rebuilt in rubble stone. West side has blocked C12 arch to former nave, with moulded imposts, and fragmentary respond of non-aligned C15 nave arcade to centre. This has chamfered pier with attached semicircular chevron arch on shafts, and a C19 window with Y tracery. North side of tower has irregular arched single lights, and a small C12 doorway with semicircular chevron arch on shafts and later inner order with moulded roundels. To south of tower is gabled porch with narrow flanking gables and head of 3-light traceried window over C19-C20 door. Present nave has 4-bay C15 clerestory with battlemented parapet, and C13 lancet in west bay over blocked doorway with 2-centred arch and roll-moulding. Lancet has ogee wooden transome. 3 other bays have large C14 3-light windows with various traceries. Another arched 2-light window to left. Second bay has blocked C15-C16 doorway with moulded 4-centred arch and hood mould. C13 lancet windows in east ends of aisles. Main east window is a group of 3 lancets with a cusped roundel above, all renewed 1900. All lancets have deeply chamfered surrounds. INTERIOR: South porch has altered jambs of large archway to south, C19-C20 4-centre doorway to tower, and 2 blocked doorways in east wall one Transitional with nailhead and roll-mouldings to arch and clustered shafts. Arch between tower and nave is triple-chamfered. Nave arcades of 4 bays, are renewed late C18 and have double-chamfered arches on variously-shaped quatrefoil piers. Aisles have small chamfered doorways in angled west corners. North aisle retains C13 groin vaulting and west doorway with roll-moulding. South aisle and nave re-roofed late C18. In south aisle, east wall and spandrels of nave arcades are narrow stone friezes with SAXON CARVINGS of interlace ornament and grotesque beasts. 3 similar lengths of frieze in tower. East end of south aisle has central arched panel carved with figure of the Virgin, flanked by triple arcaded panels with smaller figures of saints. 2 more saints in archangel Gabriel in tower. All of very good quality. FITTINGS: 3 carved shafts of C9-C10 stone crosses in north aisle. Shirley family pew, dated 1627, part balustraded, with strapwork and heraldic crests, corner obelisks, carved foliage, frieze and modillion cornice with winged angel heads; late C18 box pews, pulpit and west gallery; late C17-C18 turned baluster altar rails and chair in south chapel; C17 carved panels in dado of south chapel; octagonal stone font with heraldic panels. East end of north aisle has iron railings and 3 fine marble MONUMENTS to members of the Shirley family: (1) tomb-chest to Francis Shirley and wife, 1571, with carved figures holding shields to sides of chest; (2) tomb chest to John Shirley, late C16; (3) large wall monument to George and Frances Shirley 1598 with carved kneeling figures and skeleton below.

There is a pamplet about the church (published 1975) in the parish files. <1>

Nichols (1804) draws the church with a large building to its west.

In 1915 the church was visited. The porch appeared to be a C14th construction upon the site of part of the south transept: "From recent discoveries, it seems likely that this transept had an apsidal chapel upon its eastern side".

In the 1920s the Saxon carved stones incorporated into the building were reinterpreted and shown to be one of the most important Anglo-Saxon groups in the country.

In 1959 repair works revealed a door and lancet window at the north-west end, a cross shaft built in over the door and three more fragments.

In 1992 a C16th helmet, sword and gauntlets were found in a cupboard at the church. These were from the tomb of Henry Baron of Berkley (it is described in Nichols). The sword and gauntlets lay beside him as he knelt in prayer, with the helmet hanging above his tomb.

Project Gargoyle survey work in 2010 recorded nationally-important Anglo-Saxon friezes from about AD 800 and other Anglo-Saxon carvings of around AD 1000, including free-standing cross fragments. From the later medieval there was a set of Gothic human heads in the springers of the nave arcade, the fifteenth century font and the splendid sepulchral effigies for the Shirley family (including cadaver). Eroded medieval gargoyles decorate the outside. Exterior photographs include what might be eroded Anglo-Saxon frieze but is more likely to be natural weathering.


<1> Sites and Monuments Record, Parish File, Breedon on the Hill 42SW H (Unpublished document). SLE320.


<2> Pevsner N, 1984, The Buildings of England Leicestershire and Rutland, p109-112 (Bibliographic reference). SLE4.

Sources

<1>Unpublished document: Sites and Monuments Record. Parish File. Breedon on the Hill 42SW H.
<2>Bibliographic reference: Pevsner N. 1984. The Buildings of England Leicestershire and Rutland. p109-112.

Associated Finds

  • GAUNTLET (Late Medieval to Early Post-medieval - 1501 AD to 1600 AD)
  • HELMET (Late Medieval to Early Post-medieval - 1501 AD to 1600 AD)
  • SWORD (Late Medieval to Early Post-medieval - 1501 AD to 1600 AD)

Designations

  • Listed Building (I) 1361364: CHURCH OF ST. MARY & ST. HARDULPH
  • Conservation Area: Breedon on the Hill

Images

No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available © Leicestershire County Council

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No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

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No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

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No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

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No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available © Leicestershire County Council

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No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

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No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

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No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

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No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available  © Leicestershire County Council

No image caption available © Leicestershire County Council

Church of St Mary & St Hardulph Breedon Hill  © Leicestershire County Council

Church of St Mary & St Hardulph Breedon Hill © Leicestershire County Council

Two figures in Lady Chapel, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Two figures in Lady Chapel, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Figure in Lady Chapel, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Figure in Lady Chapel, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Lion-like beast, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Lion-like beast, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Three apostles, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Three apostles, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Saxon frieze, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Saxon frieze, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Saxon frieze and heads, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Saxon frieze and heads, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Scroll-work frieze behind altar, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Scroll-work frieze behind altar, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Bearded head, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Bearded head, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Saxon frieze, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Saxon frieze, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Saxon crosses, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Saxon crosses, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Medieval font, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Medieval font, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Sir George Shirley monument, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Sir George Shirley monument, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Sir George Shirley monument, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Sir George Shirley monument, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

Breedon Angel, Breedon on the Hill church  © Leicestershire County Council

Breedon Angel, Breedon on the Hill church © Leicestershire County Council

St Mary and St Hardulph church, Breedon on the Hill  © Leicestershire County Council

St Mary and St Hardulph church, Breedon on the Hill © Leicestershire County Council