The Story of St. Mary and St. Hardulph Church
A Cradle of our Faith
Written and illustrated by Brian C. J. Williams, A.T.D., M.Phil
|Click above for a map of Breedon Hill
|I first wrote this guide book to celebrate the 1,300th anniversary of foundation in 1975. Since then further research, discovery and revised thinking has resulted in this updated publication which a site like Breedon will always need and deserve. Like so many things in our lives it cannot give all the answers, - there are mysteries and enigmatic issues especially about the Saxon monastery and its carvings. Debate can like our tides roll back and forth over - is this particular stone early or late Saxon? Is that a carving of the Virgin or not? - and so on. Pray let us always be flexible and open to reason and who knows what in the future may unlock a little more of our past in this - a cradle of Faith.
|Brian Williams, 1996.
Some Early Mentions
BRIUDUN, c 7th. century Anglo Saxon Chronicle.
The name derives from BRE - Old British or Welsh word meaning 'a hill' joined onto 'dun' in old Anglo Saxon meaning also 'the hill'. The origin therefore is a simple name given in the two great ancient languages of the realm - in a land of hills. 'The hill' implies as the history will support - the hill of special significance.
Burton in 1622 wrote:
Bredon in the Hundred of West Gascote, upon the very edge of Darbyshire, standing upon a very high steepe hill, yeelding every way a very pleasant prospect.
Throsby in 1790 wrote:
Breedon hill stands on the very edge of Derbyshire; on it formerly stood the village which is now seated at its base. It would make a fat alderman puff and blow to gain the top for a turtle dinner.
Hence you see the Peek Hills in Derbyshire, Nottingham, Wollaton Hall, Charley forest and many intervening objects.
John Nichols, 1804.
Bredon - is situated at the foot of an exceedingly high steep limestone rock, yielding every way a most delightful prospect. On the summit of this hill the church stands eminently elevated, commanding an immense circle of country, and is itself a very noble feature to all parts around it.-Several small fragments of ancient sculpture, supposed to have been taken from the older church, are led into the walls-.