Broadway, St Eadburgha's Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Norman tub font
Who was Eadburgha?
Eadburgha was the grand-daughter of Alfred the Great. As a child, she was offered a choice between jewels and a Bible as a gift, and famously chose the Bible. She devoted her life to spiritual pursuits, and sainthood ensued, helped no doubt by her family connections.
In 1840 a new church dedicated to St Michael and All Angels was built closer to the centre of Broadway (but still on Snowshill Road). St Eadburgha's became a chapel of ease, but it is still used for services in summer.
Over the chancel arch is a royal coat of arms to Charles I, dated 1641. This is a very unusual survivor of the Civil War period; most Charles I arms were destroyed in Cromwell's Commonwealth. Set between arches on the south side of the nave is a simple Norman tub font, raised on a plinth decorated with medieval glazed tiles.
Near the entrance to the vestry is an unusual travelling pulpit. This was made to be tied to the back of a horse and carried throughout the region. When the minister reached his destinatin the pulpit would be set up on the ground for preaching, and when the service ended, it was loaded on the horse once again. Beside the pulpit is a wooden strongbox on a post.
Protecting the high altar is a very attractively carved Jacobean communion rail. The altar table and reredos are also nicely carved 17th century wood, while light is provided by a 17th century chandelier. To the north of the altar is a memorial brass to Anthony Dalton (d. 1572) set on the wall. The brass figure is very worn, but the inscription is clear and the coat of arms above Dalton's head is in very good condition.
On the north wall of the sanctuary is a stone tablet with worn initials and the date 1585. Set on the floor in front of the communion rails is a partial brass to John Treauis, who died in 1641. On the south wall is the best memorial in the church, a painted and gilded monument to Walter Savage (d. 1640), carved with cherubic angels and contained by Corinthian columns.
The helpful church guide is very proud to relate that St Eadburgha's is mentioned in Simon Jenkin's popular book, England's Thousand Best Churches.
I've been to St Eadburgha's three times now, and I fiind it such a peaceful place, full of history. I love the open, spacious feel of the nave, with its thick Norman ccolumns and wide arcade arches. The simple tub font really drives home how long the church has stood in this lovely spot. And it really is a lovely spot; Broadway itself can feel overcrowded, with tourists flocking to enjoy the wide High Street with its shops and thatched pubs. But here the church looks across green fields and over to Broadway Court, with its clipped hedges and topiary trees. Its an English idyll, a slice of wha makes the Cotswolds so appealing.
St Eadburgha's is open during daylight hours to visitors. If you are feeling energetic it is about a mile from the National Trust's Snowshill Manor.
Address: Snowshill Road, Broadway, Worcestershire, England, WR12 7JS
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Outside Broadway proper, on the road to Snowshill. Signposted from the village centre. Parking along the verge. Usually open daylight hours.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Buckland, St Michael - 1 miles (Historic Church)
Broadway Tower - 1 miles (Historic Building)
Snowshill Manor - 1.5 miles (Historic House)
Snowshill, St Barnabas Church - 1.6 miles (Historic Church)
Gordon Russell Museum - 1.6 miles (Museum)
Saintbury, St Nicholas Church - 2.3 miles (Historic Church)
Stanway House & Baroque Water Gardens - 3.3 miles (Historic House)
Stanway Watermill - 3.3 miles (Historic Building)
Nearest Accommodation to Broadway: