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Breedon on the Hill, Leicestershire

Historical Description

Breedon, a village, a township, and a parish in Leicestershire. The village stands at the base of a high limestone rock, near the verge of the county, ½ a mile W of Tonge and Breedon station on the M.R,, and 5 miles NE of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, under which it has a post office; money order office, Melbourne; telegraph office, Worthington station. A small monastery of black canons, subject to the priory of St Oswald in Yorkshire, was founded here in 1144 by Ferrers, Earl of Nottingham, and piven at the dissolution to the Shirleys. The township includes also the hamlets of Wilson and Tonge. Acreage, 3143; population, 649; of the ecclesiastical parish, 876. The parish of Breedon-on-the-Hill contains also the township of Staunton-Harrold, which is noticed under a separate heading. Limestone is worked. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Peterborough; gross value, £186. Patron, Lord Donington. The church, which surmounts the limestone rock at the village and contains tombs of the Shirleys, is good. There are Wesleyan chapels in Breedon, Tonge, and Wilson.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyLeicestershire 
Ecclesiastical parishBreedon St. Mary and St. Hardulph 
HundredWest Goscote 
Poor Law unionShardlow 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1562.

Findmypast, in association with the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester & Rutland, have the following parish records online for Breedon on the Hill:



Church of England

SS. Mary and Hardulph (parish church)

The church of SS. Mary and Hardulph, standing on the top of the rock and forming a conspicuous object in the landscape, was formerly the church of the Augustinian priory here, and sufficient remains exist of the original Norman fabric to show that it was a large cruciform structure; the existing church is, however, principally a work of the 13th century, consisting of nave and chancel with clerestory, aisle, south porch and a massive embattled western tower containing 4 bells, 3 of which bear the date 1604 and inscriptions; the 4th was cast at Loughborough in 1847: the font is Norman: the north aisle, formerly a mortuary chapel of the Shirleys, is now a private chapel belonging to Earl Ferrers; the old pew in the centre still remains; it bears the date 1627 and is adorned with coats of arms; the east end, which is divided from the centre by iron railings, contains three very handsome monuments to this family, two bearing date 1570 and 1595, and also a low tomb with a full-sized skeleton resting on the top: there are also many ancient and modern memorials to the Ferrers, Curzon and Shakespear families: in the south aisle is a memorial window to James Cowlishaw, d. 1854, and in 1900 another was erected by Mrs. Earp, of Staunton Harold, to her father and mother and two children: over the south porch is a parvise, now used as a vestry: in 1927 the sanctuary space was enlarged and other alterations carried out; a fragment of an ancient cross was discovered in the wall during this work and was removed, being now on exhibition in the church: there are 200 sittings.

Civil Registration

For general information about Civil Registration (births, marriages and deaths) see the Civil Registration page.

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Breedon on the Hill from the following:

Land and Property

A full transcript of the Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for Leicestershire is online.

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Leicestershire newspapers online:

DistrictNorth West Leicestershire
RegionEast Midlands
Postal districtDE73
Post TownDerby