This introduction to the history of the village's church has been kindly provided by Edith Powell.
Our lovely church nestles in the shadow of Bredon Hill, and is where the people of Little Comberton have worshipped for over 800 years.
Little Comberton once belonged to the Abbey of Westminster was later held by the Earl of Warwick and subsequently passed to the crown. Henry VIII granted the Manor to the Duke Of Northumberland; eventually it came to the Savage family of Elmley Castle, who sold it during the 18th century. There is no Lord of the Manor.
The church is believed to stand on the site of a Roman Temple, and artefacts from that period have been found in the churchyard.
In the 12th century the church building consisted of a nave and chancel, the same size as those existing, and today the North wall of the nave and the base of the South chancel wall still stand as evidence. Many alterations to the fabric of the church have been made throughout the ages, culminating in major restoration work during 1885 and 1886, undertaken as a memorial to the Reverend William Parker, Rector of Little Comberton for 56 years. (It was this Rector who is reputed to have built the Rectory and a number of houses still to be seen in the village, increasing the bells in the church tower from three to six and in 1871 he paid for a clock to be installed in the tower, one with two faces and it still rings out the hours today).
In 1264 the Prior of Pershore Abbey ordered that the bodies of all those holding land in the surrounding villages were to be buried in the grounds of the Abbey, whilst those holding no land were to be buried in Little Comberton churchyard.
(Taken from the Church booklet compiled by Harold Helmsley-Hall in 1988)
There are many interesting features in the church and grounds which help to tell the story of the building and when visiting please take time to note the following:
•The handprints cut into the stone benches in the porch – said to be those of newly married brides
•The whorls above the north door, variously described as beehives, clouds or shells
•In the north wall of the nave, the easternmost window has traces of a wall painting
•Near the font the beautiful little window with external Norman cable moulding
•Original medieval encaustic tiles laid either side of the altar
•The reredos depicting the Ascension incidents in the life of St Peter
•The bench mark on the northwest buttress of the tower
The north aisle was converted into a chapel in 1987, and to commemorate the Millennium was dedicated to St Paul with a specially commissioned altar and falls, and the chapel is often used for Sunday evening Eucharist and for mid-week services.
Once Little Comberton was a parish in its own right, but now St Peter’s Church is part of the combined parish of Elmley Castle, Bricklehampton, and the Combertons, served by the Parochial Church Council with the Reverend Richard Worsley as the Rector. The church is open from dawn to dusk each day and visitors are very welcome, but make sure to spare time to rest awhile on the seat behind the church, look across the fields to the wooded slopes of Bredon Hill then you will understand why Little Comberton is such a fantastic place and the church with all its history, perfect for worship and quiet meditation.
Edith Powell – Churchwarden