St Laurence's Church, Bradford-on-Avon

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St Laurence's Church, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire, is one of relatively few surviving Anglo-Saxon churches in England that does not show later medieval alteration or rebuilding.

St Laurence's Church, Bradford on Avon, seen from the south, 2005.

The church is dedicated to St Laurence and may have been founded by Saint Aldhelm around 700, although the architectural style suggests a 10th or 11th century date.[1] It could have been a temporary burial site for King Edward the Martyr.[citation needed]

St. Laurence's stands on rising ground close to the larger Norman parish church of the Holy Trinity. The building was used as a school and cottage for many years.[2] It was rediscovered in 1856 and restored in 1870–80.[2]

The porticus on the northern side of the church. (On the right is the Norman church of the Holy Trinity).

The date of the building has been much debated, but careful investigation in the middle of the 20th century has led to the belief that the main fabric dates from Aldhelm's lifetime,[citation needed] the original chapel being as later described by William of Malmesbury, but some details belonging to a later restoration at the end of the 10th century. H. M. Taylor states that he believes the main fabric of the walls to their full height belongs to Aldhelm's time, and Taylor's discussions with Dr Edward Gilbert led him to that conclusion.

The arcading on the exterior walls is produced, not by incision (as thought by Jackson and Fletcher[who?]) but by setting the massive stone pilaster-strips forward from the wall-face. In this they are similar to Great Dunham and the tower of Tasburgh parish church in Norfolk, and also to the parish churches at Earls Barton and Barton-upon-Humber.


  1. ^ Stephanie James, Church of St Laurence
  2. ^ a b Pevsner & Cherry, 1975, page 130


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Coordinates: 51°20′49″N 2°15′14″W / 51.3470°N 2.2538°W / 51.3470; -2.2538