St Eadburgha's, Broadway
St Eadburgha's, Broadway
St Eadburgha's is a lovely 12th century church, situated down a country lane far from the centre of the popular Cotswold village it serves. The original village stood on a trail used by travellers coming down off the Cotswold escarpment, and when a new trail was made, the village developed a new centre, leaving St Edwaburgh's church stranded at the foot of Snowshill.

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.
The Norman tub font
The Norman tub font
There was a church here as early as the Saxon period, but no trace of that early building remains, and the oldest part of the current church is from the 12th century. The nave arcades are supported on beautiful Norman columns with large diameter bases and simple scalloped capitals. The nave roof is lovely old timber, with a frieze along the wall-plate with small, carved faces mixed with foliage designs. Against the west wall of the south aisle is one of the newest monuments in the church, the Millenium Stone, inserted in 1972 to celebrate 1000 years of Broadway history.

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.
Medieval glazed tiles
Medieval glazed tiles
In the south transept is a small piscina, lined with more medieval tiles, suggesting that there was once a chapel here. Against the west wall of the transept is a wheeled bier that was used until shortly after WWII. Under the south window are remains of a medieval stone coffin with broken grave slabs decorated with crosses. On the east wall of the transept is an elegant 18th century memorial to William Taylor. Contrast this beautifully carved memorial to the small stone plaque facing it across the transept, which has a rudely carved inscription reading 'As thow [sic] art, so was I. As I am, so shall thow bee'

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.
Medieval stone coffin, south transept
Medieval stone coffin,
south transept
The Sanctuary
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.
Each of the chancel windows has fragments of medieval glass, though none are very extensive.

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.
Visiting
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.

Charles I coat of arms
Charles I coat of arms
Norman nave capital
Norman nave capital
The chancel
The chancel
Cherub on William Taylor memorial
Cherub on William Taylor memorial


Piscina, south transept
Piscina, south transept
The parish bier
The parish bier
William Taylor memorial
William Taylor memorial
Anthony Dalton brass (1572)
Anthony Dalton brass (1572)
The 17th century altar table
The 17th century altar table
The Jacobean pulpit
The Jacobean pulpit
Wooden alms box
Wooden alms box
Walter Savage memorial (1640)
Walter Savage
memorial (1640)

About Broadway
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.
Website: Broadway
Location map
OS: SP096362
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS

Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest

Buckland, St Michael - 1 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Broadway Tower - 1 miles (Historic Building) Heritage Rating

Snowshill Manor - 1.5 miles (Historic House) Heritage Rating

Snowshill, St Barnabas Church - 1.6 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Gordon Russell Museum - 1.6 miles (Museum) Heritage Rating

Saintbury, St Nicholas Church - 2.3 miles (Historic Church) Heritage Rating

Stanway House & Baroque Water Gardens - 3.3 miles (Historic House) Heritage Rating

Stanway Watermill - 3.3 miles (Historic Building) Heritage Rating



Nearest Accommodation to Broadway:

Self Catering   -   B&Bs/Guesthouses   -   Hotels

Nearest Self Catering Cottages

  More self catering near Broadway

Show self catering cottages near Broadway

Nearest Hotels

    More Hotels near Broadway

Show bed and breakfasts near Broadway

Nearest Bed and Breakfasts

  More bed and breakfasts near Broadway

    Nearest Tourist Information Centre ('as the crow flies')

Broadway
Tourist Information Centre
Unit 14 Russell Square
High Street
Broadway
Worcestershire
England
WR12 7AP
Tel: 01386 852 937
Email: info@beautifulbroadway.com
map