Breedon Priory

Breedon Priory

Breedon Priory in Leicestershire was founded as an Augustinian monastery in around 1120, on the site of the earlier saxon Benedictine abbey of Holy Hill monastery, Breedon. The priory was maintained as a cell of Nostell Priory in Yorkshire and there only seems to have been between three to five canons in residence at any one time. Gervase, a prior of Breedon attempted to gain independence for the priory from Nostell but failed and subsequently resigned in 1244. In 1441 a visiting bishop found the monastery to be dilapidated and in debt. By 1535 there was no resident community at the priory which was now occupied only by the prior. Breedon was surrendered jointly with Nostell Priory, during the Dissolution, in 1539 and was sold to Francis Shirley.

Post Dissolution

The eastern part of the 13th century priory with the formerly central tower was retained for parish use. The nave and other buildings were demolished. The church contains a series of important saxon relief sculpture, some of which may be amongst the earliest to survive anywhere in England, and came from the original saxon abbey church. There are also many 16th and 17th century tombs of the Shirley family who bought the monastery site.


* 'Houses of Augustinian canons: The priory of Breedon', A History of the County of Leicestershire: Volume 2 (1954), pp. 8-10.
* Anthony New. 'A Guide to the Abbeys of England And Wales', p76-78. Constable.

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