The Priory Church, Breedon on the Hill
Breedon Priory, formerly known as St. Mary and St. Hardulph.
This is a holy place with an authenticated history of Christian worship for over 1300 years. In A.D. 676 an Anglo-Saxon Monastery was established on the hilltop, by Mercian King Aethelred, and for some 200 years this flourished as a centre of culture and crafts.
It was from this building that the remarkable array of Anglo-saxon carved stonework was salvaged, which can be seen in the Church today. But in A.D. 874, the community was attacked by pagan Danish and Norse invaders and buildings looted and despoiled.
The next major step came in A.D. 1122 with the arrival of a Prior and five Canons from Nostell Priory in Yorkshire, who established an Augustian Priory on the site and it is the Nave and North Aisle of this building which survive as the Parish Church of today, restored in later centuries, but still retaining much of its 12th century design and styling.
If you would like to know more about its history then please read the The Story of St. Mary and St. Hardulph Church.
The Breedon Angel
On 17 October 2001, the replica of the Breedon Angel was, at last, erected in the South Aisle of the church by John Larson and his team from the Museums and Galleries on Merseyside.
Earlier this year, the original had been scanned by 3D laser equipment, and the data collected was interpreted, and fed into a computer. Using the stored information, the replica was machined in a block of stone from Monks Park Quarry in Wiltshire. The scanning of the original has provided the replica with some details hidden by dust and grime, and if you look carefully at the wings of the Angel, you can see faint details of the feathers. It is possible that the original was painted, and normal representations of Gabriel had multi-coloured wings, so our angel must have been very special.
The installation of the replica, being a landmark event for the church, attracted a great deal of media interest, and interviews were given to BBC TV, Radio Leicester, The Times, BBC Online, and the local newspapers.
Since the replica was put in place, there have been many complimentary remarks, and I am pleased that the idea of the replica being dedicated to the memory of Ernest Hodgson is being well received.