Breedon on the Hill

Breedon on the Hill

Priory church of St. Mary & St. Hardulph
Breedon on the Hill
 Breedon on the Hill shown within Leicestershire
Population 958 (2001 Census)[1]
OS grid referenceSK4022
Civil parishBreedon on the Hill
DistrictNorth West Leicestershire
Shire countyLeicestershire
RegionEast Midlands
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post town Derby
Postcode district DE73
Dialling code 01332
Police Leicestershire
Fire Leicestershire
Ambulance East Midlands
EU Parliament East Midlands
UK ParliamentNorth West Leicestershire
WebsiteBreedon on the Hill parish council
List of places

Coordinates: 52°48′07″N 1°23′56″W / 52.802°N 1.399°W / 52.802; -1.399

Breedon on the Hill is a village and civil parish about 5 miles (8 km) north of Ashby-de-la-Zouch in North West Leicestershire, England. The parish adjoins the Derbyshire county boundary and the village is only about 2 miles (3 km) south of the Derbyshire town of Melbourne. The 2001 Census recorded a parish population (including Isley and Wilson) of 958 people in 404 households.[2] The parish includes the hamlets of Tonge 1 mile (1.6 km) east of the village and Wilson 1.3 miles (2 km) north of the village on the county boundary. The population at the 2011 census (including Isley cum Langley and Langley Priory) was 1,029 in 450 households.


Breedon's limestone hill rising above the village green and war memorial
Aerial view, showing church and quarry

Breedon is notable for its Carboniferous limestone hill that rises 122 metres (400 ft) above sea level in a generally low-lying landscape and affords distant views across several counties. A large portion of the hill has been cut away by an active quarry now operated by Breedon Aggregates.

On top of the hill is The Bulwarks Iron Age hill fort, within which is Breedon's historic Church of England parish church.

Breedon is 3 miles (5 km) from East Midlands Airport and 5 miles (8 km) from the junction of the A42 road and M1 motorway. The village is 3 miles (5 km) from the River Trent, and 2 miles (3 km) from Donington Park motor circuit.


Excavation of The Bulwarks in 1946 identified occupation between about the 1st century BC and about 1st century AD.[3]

The toponym is derived from the Celtic word bre for hill and the Old English word dun for hill.[4] Hence in its current form the name combines three forms of the word hill. Briudun, an early spelling, has been traced from AD 731.

Medieval Hagiography Manuscripts record four saints buried in Breedon-on-the-Hill. They are Friduricus,[5] donor of the Mercian Royal Monastery built in Breedon during the seventh century, King Eardwulf of Northumbria, and relatively unknown Anglo-Saxon Saints Beonna of Breedon and Cotta of Breedon.[6][7]

Breedon has a circular stone-built village lock-up.[3] It is 18th-century and similar to the one in the nearby Worthington. It was used for detaining local drunks or lost cattle.

In 1874, a branch of the Midland Railway was built through the eastern part of the parish and Tonge and Breedon railway station was built at Tonge. In 1980 British Railways closed the line and thereafter the track was dismantled. The trackbed through the parish is now part of National Cycle Route 6.

Breedon Priory Church

The Priory Church of St Mary and St Hardulph was originally a monastery founded in about AD 676 on the site of The Bulwarks, an Iron Age hill fort. It was re-founded as an Augustinian priory early in the 12th century.[8] Before becoming a monastery it was a hermitage.[9]

What remains of the priory church includes a large number of Anglo-Saxon sculptures,[10] an ornate family box pew and notable Renaissance church monuments.[11]


Breedon has two public houses: the Holly Bush and the Three Horseshoes. There was a third pub, The Lime Kiln, but this is now a private home.

The village has a small primary school, a post office and a butcher's shop.

Breedon has a football club, Breedon F.C., whose players include former Aston Villa trainee Jon Dixon.


  1. "Area selected: North West Leicestershire (Non-Metropolitan District)". Neighbourhood Statistics: Full Dataset View. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  2. Leicestershire County Council: 2001 Census
  3. 1 2 Pevsner 1960, p. 75.
  4. Mills, A.D. (2003). A Dictionary of British Place Names. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-852758-6.
  5. Brian C.J. Williams, The Story of St. Mary and St. Hardulph Church: A Cradle of our Faith (The United Benefice of Breedon and Worthington, 2006)
  6. Stowe MS 944, British Library
  7. The Oxford Dictionary of Saints, Oxford University Press.
  8. Hoskins & McKinley 1951, pp. 8–10.
  9. Williams, Brian C.J. (10 October 2006). "The Story of St. Mary and St. Hardulph Church: A Cradle of our Faith". The United Benefice of Breedon and Worthington. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
  10. Pevsner 1960, pp. 73–74.
  11. Pevsner 1960, p. 73.


Further reading

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