The History of Breadsall All Saints
There are no known records of a church in the area known as “Braegesheale” before 1087, but Braegesheale is mentioned in an endowment charter dated 1002 of the Abbey of Burton, when a small portion of the manor was left to the Abbey. It is possible that there was a typical Saxon church in the area constructed of wood, but there have also been suggestions that several stones in the present tower are dressed in pre-Norman fashion and also a report that part of an ancient Saxon cross was once visible in the wall of the chancel indicate the possibility of a substantial Saxon church building in the area. The Domesday survey of 1087 calls the parish “Braidshale” and mentions the presence of a church with priest and a mill worth 13s. 4d. The present building has undergone many changes over the years, but substantial portions of its very varied past still exist. The oldest section is in the South door area which probably dates from about 1150. The door archway is of typical Norman style, where traces of carving remain – in particular a tree and a cock reminding Christians of Adam’s fall and Peter’s denial. The size and quality of the doorway would seem to indicate that the Normans replaced the Saxon church mentioned in Domesday with a building of some style and significance. The South porch is probably Early English and dates from around 1250.(The South porch and Norman doorway is not in use at the present time). Substantial rebuilding took place in the 13th century when the present chancel and tower were constructed in the Early English style, and a north aisle added. Further changes were made around 1360 when new windows were installed on the south side of the chancel and nave in the Decorated Style. A spire was added and the eastern section of the aisle extended northwards. In the mid 15th century the present east window was installed and the north aisle completed in the Perpendicular style. Repairs and alterations took place during the 19th century, mostly to roof and woodwork, but these disappeared in a fire on the night of June 4th 1914. It was alleged at the time that the fire was the work of militant suffragettes. Suffragettes certainly fired a number of churches at the time and Mrs A Wheeldon, a prominent Derby militant, admitted the act to an associate, but this was never proven. Many fine and ancient books were destroyed . Restoration was completed by 1916 at an estimated cost of £11,000.