St Mary's Church
St Mary's, Breamore
St Maryʼs Breamore is a very old church dating back to around 980 AD, possibly built for King Ethelred II, known as 'The Unready'. It is very unusual, as it a rare example of an Anglo-Saxon Turriform church.
These churches owe their basic ground plan to the Byzantine tradition of Eastern Europe.
Byzantine churches have a large central domed tower, the ground floor of which serves as the nave, and two or more small extensions or porticus. The Anglo-Saxons dispensed with the dome and built a tower, then added a large nave to the west side to accommodate the basilican style of worship.
Of the three small porticus or chapels, only that on the south side survives, although the roof lines of the others can be seen in the external stonework of the tower. The current chancel which replaced the eastern porticus dates from the early 14th century as does the east window.