St Laurence

Bradford on Avon

Location; Church Street, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire. Adjacent to Holy Trinity parish church..


History; The foundation dates back to the early eighth century, but the present building dates from around 1001, when King Aethelred II granted it to the nuns of Shaftsbury.

The elaborate blind arch decoration suggests an important function, such as a reliquary for the remains of Edward the Matyr, Aethelred's brother. 

In the later mediaeval period the church fell into disuse and was incorporated into other buildings. In the Victorian era it was recognised as a late saxon building. Attached accretions were removed, traces of which can be seen in the top picture. The buttresses either side of the south door were added at this time to stabilise the building. 


Description; The blind arch decoration is right round the building. Inside the typical tall, narrow proportions of a saxon church are apparent. Similarly with the doors and chancel arch. The chancel itself had been turned into a cottage and holes in the side walls for upper floor beams can still be seen. Upon restoration a collection of saxon sculptures were collected and made into an alter, surmounted by a cross fragment

                      Although the church was probably elaborately decorated, all that exists now are two angels high on the east nave wall. These are not original items but were found in the vicinity but are similar in design to other known examples of the late saxon era.

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Sources; A guide available from the site

Photographs by the author.