HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Historic England research records Result
Historic England research recordsPrintable version | About Historic England research records

Historic England Research Records

Church Of St Mary And St Hardulf

Hob Uid: 315449
Location :
Leicestershire
North West Leicestershire
Breedon on the Hill
Grid Ref : SK4056023350
Summary : Mainly 13th century church incorporating remains of Mediaeval priory church of Breedon Priory. Many 8th and 10th century Saxon sculptured stones. Identified as a minster from documentary evidence, the minster being founded between 675-691. Circa 1109-22, the church was granted to Nostell Priory as an Augustinian Canonical Cell. The existing church formed the canon's quire in the Middle Ages, but there is no evidence to suggest that the Priors ever held the cure of souls of the parish, indicating that the church was retained for parochial use. The West tower formed the West end of a 12th century church, and the present church is coterminus with that building. Soon after 1150 a parochial nave was added to the West of the 12th century church, the Western part of the latter being adapted as the Canon's quire. The quire was rebuilt in the 13th century on a cruciform plan with an aisled quire of four bays, the 12th century aisleless nave surviving the enlargement. The parochial nave was rebuilt in the 15th century, although the North wall was retained so as not to disturb the claustral buildings to the North. Following the Dissoution, the North transept and parochial nave were demolished, and the South transept retained as a South porch. Plan of nave with aisle, and West tower. The Priory was extant from before 1122 until dissolved in 1539.
More information : [SK 4056 2335] Church [T.U.] (1)

"Breedon on the Hill:Church of St.Mary and St.Hardulf.

A Saxon monastery, a daughter of Peterborough, was founded at
Breedon on the Hill probably in the time of Bishop Saxwulf of
Lichfield (675-C.691) and Aethelred, King of Mercia (675-704).
It was a house of some importance, which supplied an archbishop,
Tatwine (731-4), to the See of Canterbury. Among the inmates
was the anchorite Hardulf. The Monastery did not survive the
Danish wars, though it is possible that a community of priests
serving the district was established here in the later Saxon
period.
Early in the reign of Henry I the church of St.Mary and
St.Hardulf was given to the Augustinian Priory of St.Oswald
at Nostell, Yorkshire, and canons were already established at
Breeden in 1122.(a) Breeden was a small house and remained
throughout the Middle Ages a cell of Nostell. Five canons are
mentioned in a document of C.1220 which implies that this was
the normal number. An episcopal visitation of 1441 states
that the priory buildings were dilapidated, and suspended
one of the three canons at Breedon, who failed to appear. In
1518 the nave and porch of the parish church were in need of
repair.

No remains of the Saxon church survive in situ.

A rich series of carved stones, re-used in the Middle Ages, is
now preserved in the church. Long strips in two different
heights, decoratd with vegetal scrolls and animals, probably
formed part of strings, de-limiting paintings or reliefs in
stucco, like those still in position in the contemporary
Tempietto at Cividale.(b) At the east end of the south aisle
are three fragments with a series of saints in niches; these
formed part of the shrine of St.Hardulf. The carvings all
belong to a school contemporary with the Mercian supremacy of
the 8th century. They form one of the most notable collections of
pre-Conquest sculpture in the country.

The existing church formed the canons' quire of the Middle
Ages; the earliest parts are incorporated in the present Western
tower. The ground stage of this tower formed the west end of an
early 12th century church.

The angles have shallow clasping buttresses and one narrow
pilaster buttress survives on each of the north and south walls.
Parts of four widely splayed windows set high in the wall remain,
one in each of the bays formed by the buttresses. Externally
they show on the north side as narrow loops with chamfered
angles. Interally, in the present first floor of the tower, the
embrasures have nook shafts with reeded capitals and chevron
ornament on the voussoirs. There is also a small window, later
converted to a door, at the same level in the west end. The work
dates from the second quarter of the 12th century. The ashlar
of pink sandstone, visible above the arches of the later
arcades, shows that the church of this date was co-teminous with
the present tower and nave.

Soon after 1150 a parochial nave was added to the west of the
earlier building, which was adapted as the canons' quire. A
narrow opening (now blocked) in the west wall linked the two
parts of the church. The canons' quire with lofty stalls
was formed in the western part of the old church, under the
later tower... the old windows in the north wall were enlarged...

The Canons' quire was re-built in the early years of the 13th
century. The new building was cruciform with an aisled quire of
four bays. The arcades are a modern re-build on the old lines,
as are the three lancets above the altar. The lancets at the
east end of the aisles are original; a third remains, now
blocked, in the west bay of the north wall. The aisles were
vaulted and substantial remains can still be seen on the north
side. The south transept survives and now serves as a porch.
The original door is that, now blocked, into the south quire
aisle. A deep recess in the east wall of the projecting bay
held an altar, the position of which can still be traced, though
partly covered by a later blocking.

The old aisless nave survived the enlargement of the quire.
In the 15th century this part of thechurch was in turn re-built.
To avoid disturbing the cloister, which lay on the north side
of the church, the new aisled nave was laid out excentrically to
extend the full width of the canons' quire and south transept,
the old north wall being retained. The start of the arcades of
the south wall can be traced. The 14th and 15th centuries also
saw alterations in the canons' quire, where a clerestorey was
added and larger windows inserted in the aisles.
After the Suppression the canons' church was retained for
parochial use, the south transept being added as a porch and
the old quire becoming the nave."

[For plan see A0: 59:333:3] (2)

[Summarised in Authy.2] (3)

"...The carving at Breedon... can only be assigned to the
pre-Danish period, the weight of evidence favouring the latter
part of the eighth century..." [Detailed description and
photographs of carvings and full discussion.] (4)
[Referred to in summary by Authy.2.] (5)

[Summarised by Authy 2.] (6)

[Historical and Architectural Summary] (7)

"...From the view in Nichol's History of Leicestershire' [Vol.3,
pt.2 plate XCII] [See A0: 59:334:2] there appears from the
arrangement of the doorways to have been provision for a cloister
court on the north side of the nave. It is, however, doubtful
whether any conventual buildings upon the usual plan were ever
erected, while it is certain that in the middle of the fifteenth
century the quire of the church was used by the canons as their
chapter-house. It is probable that, after the appropriation
of the church by St.Oswald's Priory, the rectory house ln the
north side of the church was used by the canons as their
dwellings. This no longer exists.
The ... tower.. originally stood above the crossing in the
middle of the church, and a south porch with upper storey..
appears to be a fourteenth century construction upon the site of
part of the south transept. From recent discovereries, it seems
likely that this transept had an apsidal chapel upon its eastern
side..." (8)

[Architectural and historical summary given during a field
meeting of the Royal Arch. Institute.] (9)

Breedon Priory ... dissolved 1539 (10)

"An Anglo-Saxon window and carved stonework have been uncovered
during restoration work at the parish church of
Breedon-on-the-Hill... They were found when an outside buttress
at the north-west corner of the church was removed." (11)

The church is in use for public worship. At its west end can be
seen the marks of the former nave of the canons' church. On the
north side of the formerly central tower are the marks of eaves
courses and openings, possibly to the conventual buildings
or to a north transept. No traces of the conventual buildings
remain; a recent drainage trench across the churchyard revealed
slates and fragments of stone with a few late Md. potsherds.
The church is at present being repaired.

In demolishing a buttress at the north-west corner of the north
aisle an Early English lancet window (not Saxon as stated by Authy
11) was found and a similar doorway. In the packing of the
buttress two pre-Conquest sculptured stones were found and are
now in the north aisle awaiting a decision as to their re-use.
They are similar to the other stones of this type which were
built into the inner walling of the south wall, in 1937, having
been brought in from the outside of the church.(r)
These stones fall into two periods, 8th c., with the introduction
of the monastic settlement at Breedon and mid-10th c.,
originating in the conversion of the Dane(s) (12)

Further references to the Anglo Saxon carved stones. (13-14)

CIVIL PARISH OF BREEDON ON THE HILL

A Church of St. Mary and St. Hardulph

Principally C13 and C14, the remains of an Augustinian Priory
founded in 1144. Handsome church consisting of nave with aisles,
chancel and west tower. Eighteenth century fittings to nave
and south aisle including set of oak box pews, pulpit and west
gallery; the north aisle belongs to the Earl Ferrers and is closed
off by an old wrought iron screen. The Ferrers Aisle contains a
fine canoped family pew dated 1627 and two fine tombs to the
Shirley family dated 1570 and 1595.
Another tomb has a skeleton on top. Funeral armour, etc. etc.
Carved stones in walls of Saxon date. Slate headstones in
churchyard. (15)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1904
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : C.A.R Radford
Page(s) : 170-2
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 112, 1955
Source Number : 3i
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Cart Sax 1283
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : A.W Clapham
Page(s) : 219-40
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 77, 1927
Source Number : 5
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : A.W Clapham
Page(s) : 392-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 90, 1933
Source Number : 6
Source : The Victoria history of the county of Leicester, volume two
Source details :
Page(s) : 08-Sep
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6j
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : John Rylands Libr., Manchester, Latin MS 222, f.30a.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6k
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : L.Delisle, Rouleaux des Morte, 314
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6l
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : 'Bolton Priory'-Introduction pp.23-27(A.H.Thompson)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6m
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Rot. Hugonis de Welles I. 252
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6n
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : 'Visitations of Religious Houses in the Diocese of Lincoln' (1420-49)ii,40-42 (A.Hamilton Thompson)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6o
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : 'Visitations of Religious Houses in the Diocese of Lincoln' (1517-31), i.28. (A.Hamilton Thompson)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2a
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 48
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 106, 1949
Source Number : 6p
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : L.& P. Henry VIII, X,p.497.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6q
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : L.& P. Henry VIII, XIV(2),pp.195, 240.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : PB Chatwin
Page(s) : 394-6
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 71, 1914
Source Number : 8
Source : Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society
Source details : A Hamilton Thompson
Page(s) : 162-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 11, 1913-20
Source Number : 9
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details : WH St John Hope
Page(s) : 504-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 42, 1885
Source Number : 10
Source : Medieval religious houses in England and Wales
Source details : 1953 edition (and supplement 1957)
Page(s) : 129,468
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : "The Guardian" 19.9.59 p.5.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : Bulletin of the Loughborough and District Archaeological Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 07-Nov
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 3, 1960
Source Number : 12r
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Plaque with stones
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12s
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Oral: Mr. D.T.D.Clarke Keeper in Antiquites Leicester Museum.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2b
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : "Romanesque Architecture in Western Europe." p.Ib. (A.W.Clapham).
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 WW 12-FEB-60
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 14
Source : Transactions of the Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society
Source details :
Page(s) : 20-Mar
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 39, 1963-4
Source Number : 15
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE(HHR) Castle Donington R.D, Leic, March 1960,1-2.
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 16
Source : Anglo-Saxon landscapes in the East Midlands
Source details :
Page(s) : 24-May
Figs. : 6
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 17
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : DOE (HHR) District of North West Leicestershire Jan-1989 10-11
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2c
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details :
Page(s) : 219-40
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 77, 1927
Source Number : 2d
Source : The Archaeological Journal
Source details :
Page(s) : 392-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 90, 1933
Source Number : 2f
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : "Historical Essays in Honour of James Tait",1933, pp.313-26
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Historical Essays in Honour of James Tait" 1933, pp.313-26.(F.M.Stenton)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3g
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Cart Sax Vol.11 Nos.840 & 843
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3h
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Hist Eccl Vol 23
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Circa 675-870
Monument End Date : 870
Monument Start Date : 675
Monument Type : Minster
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : C8-10
Monument End Date : 1000
Monument Start Date : 701
Monument Type : Carved Stone, Cross
Evidence : Architectural Component
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1122
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Augustinian Cell
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Extant
Monument End Date : 1539
Monument Start Date : 1122
Monument Type : Augustinian Monastery, Priory
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 1300
Monument Start Date : 1201
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 1400
Monument Start Date : 1301
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Parish Church
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 358064
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 110930
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Unified Designation System UID
External Cross Reference Number : 1361364
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SK 42 SW 5
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 315414
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 54194
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SK 42 SW 5
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1960-02-12
End Date : 1960-02-12
Associated Activities : Primary, BREEDON ON THE HILL
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1975-01-01
End Date : 1975-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, BREEDON HILL, THE BULWARKS
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1987-01-01
End Date : 1988-12-31