Bredon St. Giles ·

History

Unlike many monastic foundations, the records of Bredon Monastery have vanished. There is little doubt that the site of the present church stands on historic and holy ground, and could well be the site of the original Saxon house of religion. No traces of the early foundations of this building have been discovered. It is possible that the site of the Old Rectory - a fine house dating from about 1430 - the Manor House, the Old Mansion, or even the Red House in Back Lane could have been the position of the early monastery.

This first monastery at Bredon was dedicated to St Peter, and in 780 Offa, King of Mercia, endowed lands in Worcestershire for its upkeep. We must assume the destruction and burning of Bredon Monastery by the Danes on their journey up the River Avon sometime immediately after the year 841. The monks were either slain or deported, and the monastery valuables certainly plundered.

The Normans began the present church, around 1180, and work continued until the middle of the 13th century. It seems possible that stonemasons who were at that time working on the great Abbey of Tewkesbury were called in to lend a hand in the construction of Bredon Church. Certainly the two external turrets at the west end and those at Tewkesbury Abbey have a marked resemblance.

Historical Plan

This section shows the layout and some history of the building of the Church.

layout

  1. The Norman Doorway
  2. The Parvis
  3. The Western Arch
  4. North Windows
  5. The Easter Sepulchre
  6. Medieval Tiles
  7. 14th Century Coffin Lid
  8. 14th Century Tomb
  9. The South Aisle
  10. The Reed Memorial

Things to see

Here are some of the interesting features in St. Giles. Click on any of the images to see a larger version of the picture.

porch There are no great rounded Norman arches, but it is from the doorways and the north porch, displaying rich carved mouldings that the date of the building can be estimated. In former times it was used for the initial part of wedding and baptismal services and as the village school.
parvis To the north porch was added a parvis, or an enclosed room - an unusual feature. Access to this room was by an internal ladder from the main door. It may have been a place for the monks of the Abbey to house their valuables, or possibly an occasional priest would use it as a lodging.
spire The Spire rises to a height of 161 feet. It is regarded as one of the loveliest in the Midlands, and has been immortalised by Housman and Masefield who wrote of "All the land from Ludlow Town to Bredon Church's spire".
chancel The Chancel is comparatively large and long for a village church, and contains many interesting features. The 14th century windows are priceless and contain designs of ivy, maple, oak leaves and acorns.
sep In the north wall of the Sanctuary is an Easter Sepulchre. This was originally a tomb where the consecrated Host was placed on Maundy Thursday symbolising the death of Christ, and taken from it at Easter to represent His Resurrection.
tiles These medieval tiles face the sanctuary steps probably in their original positions. Details are given in the chart on the North wall. Worcestershire churches are noted for their heraldic tiles and this is a most interesting set.
lid This early 14th Century coffin lid was discovered accidentally. It features a cross of thorn thought to suggest an association with the sacred Glastonbury tree. It is thought that the very realistic heads may represent earlier members of the Reed family.
tomb This mid 14th Century tomb has a wonderful carved roof and commemorates William and Katherine Reed of Mitton and their child. The costumes are typical of the period. The approximate date of this monument is 1357.
aisle The south aisle, later called the Mitton Chapel, is a beautiful example of early English Architecture.
giles The splendid tomb of Sir Giles Reed and his family is a fine alabaster and black marble monument of the Jacobean period, and is one of the finest examples of such work in the whole country. The family were great benefactors of Bredon.

Previous Rectors

1236William of Myll
1300Walter of Berton
1304 William de Loriaco
1314 Roger of Wingefend
1317 William of Bristol
1317 Simon of Mune
1330 John of Trilleke (later Bishop of Hereford).
1339 John of Orlton
1341 John de la Lowe
1351 Robert of Chykewelle
1352 Thomas of Stretforde
1354 Richard of Ledbury, Archdeacon of Gloucester
1428 John Verney
1438 William Hende
1449 John Chadworth, S.T.P.
1451 Richard Rowe
1454 Thomas Hawkyns, M.A.
1470 Robert Slimbrugge L.L.B
1504 John Nicholaus
1505 Peter Carmelianus, Archdeacon of Gloucester.
1539 Richard Gwent, L.L.D
1543 Thomas Bayard, L.L.B.
1544 Robert Johnson, L.L.B.
1576 John Atkyn
1593 Thomas Nutte. M.A.
1608 Christopher Helme. L.L.D.
1653 William Sutton. D.D.
1642 Henry Sutton. D.D.
1688 John Webb, M.A.
1713 John Webb, M.A.
1724 Prideaux Sutton. M.A.
1748 Henry Whitmore. L.L.B.
1749 William Davenport. L.L.D.
1780 John Pearkes.
1787 John Smith, M.A.
1806 John Keysall, M.A.
1837 Thomas Alfred Strickland. M.A.
1852 Henry FitzGerald. M.A.
1881 Henry George Cavendish Browne, B.A.
1911 Hugh Holbech. M.A., Canon of Coventry
1920 William Higgin Beauchamp Yerburgh. M.A.
1937 Hugh McCalman. M.C., M.A., HON. C.F.
1947 Brian Andrew Campbell Kirk- Duncan. M.A.
1963 Leonard James Birch, L.TH. HON. C.F.
1973 Colin E. Beswick, M.A., Canon of Worcester.
1979 Christopher John Ridout, M.A., Canon of Worcester.
1999 Matthew Thomas Crispin Baynes M.A.