Worcestershire Places of Worship

St Edburga's Church, Leigh (1) (94k) St Edburga's Church, Leigh (2) (57k) St Edburga's Church, Leigh (3) (63k) St Edburga's Church, Leigh (4) (72k) St Edburga's Church, Leigh (5) (77k) St Edburga's Church, Leigh (6) (75k) St Edburga's Church, Leigh (7) (70k) St Edburga's Church, Leigh (8) (85k) St Edburga's Church, Leigh (9) (84k) St Edburga's Church, Leigh (10) (97k) Above Photograph(s)
Copyright of Rosemary Lockie
St Edburga's Church, Leigh
St Edburga's Church,
Brockamin Lane,
Leigh, Worcestershire.

Cemeteries

This Church has (or had) a graveyard.

Note: any church within an urban environment may have had its graveyard closed after the Burial Act of 1853. Any new church built after that is unlikely to have had a graveyard at all.

Church History

This Place of Worship was founded in 1100, and we understand it is still open.

The Church's guide book tells us that St Edburga of Winchester was a Saxon princess, daughter of Edward the Elder, King of Wessex 900-924 AD, and grand daughter of Alfred the Great. She was educated at the Abbey of St Mary in Winchester, remaining there as a nun until she died, aged 40. A religious cult celebrating her sanctity was subsequently established at the Abbeys of Winchester and Wessex. When Pershore Abbey was refounded in AD 972, her relics were brought to the Abbey from Winchester, and a chapel was dedicated in her name. Since the Manor of Leigh was under the authority of the Abbot of Pershore at that time, its church was dedicated to St Edburga likewise.

The present church dates from 1100 but was built on the site of an earlier monastery. Originally it was a single-cell basilica type, of nave and chancel only, with a rounded apse at its east end.

A narrow south aisle was added in the late 12th century, and in the 13th century it was enlarged, as was the chancel. The Tower was added in the 14th century. The whole was extensively renovated in 1855, when a gallery was removed from the west end of the Nave, the south wall of the Aisle rebuilt, plaster removed from some walls, and a new East window inserted.

[Image 1] The timber porch over the west door is of Perpendicular origin. Attached to the wall on the south side of the doorway is a shallow stone basin, supported by a carved Gryphon. My first thought was that it was a traditional stoup to contain holy water, for pilgrims entering the church to dip their fingers into, but the guide book suggests this is the Piscina missing from the Chapel at the east end of the south Aisle.

[Image 3] Inside are many interesting features, and overall there is a feeling of space, as if the church is more than nave and single aisle's width. This may be a feature of its design, and the lighting effects cast by stained glass in the large east and west windows. The stained glass in the central window in the south aisle is Victorian, and in memory of Thomas Norbury.

[Image 4] A 15th century wooden screen, which may have belonged to the gallery removed from the nave was restored, and partially repainted by the Revd. Edward Bradley (Cuthbert Bede) during his time as curate of Leigh, 1855-57, and fitted to the east bay of the south aisle (called the Bransford Aisle) to form a Lady Chapel. It is decorated with Tudor Roses, and has an inscription along its top edge from the Gospel of St John. Rood stairs and upper doorway to the loft are to be found in the south wall behind the screen.

[Image 5] The east wall of the Lady Chapel contains two single-light stained glass windows, with representations of the 4 Apostles. Between the lights is a figure of Christ, which was formerly in a niche on the outer north wall of the Nave. It was removed from its niche in 1970, and taken to the Victoria & Albert Museum, where experts arranged for its restoration, and installation in its present position. They dated it to around 1100 AD, though Pevsner disagrees with their findings and believes it to have been an effigy from a coffin lid of about 1220. Either way, it is an impressive sculpture - 'a rare treasure which still radiates an aura of sanctity and peace'. Two forefingers of the figure's right hand are raised in a traditional "peace" blessing.

[Image 6] The Chancel contains the tomb of Edmond Colles, first Lord of the Manor after the Dissolution of the Monasteries. He died in 1606, aged 76. The kneeling figures of the monument on the north wall of the chancel are his son William Colles and his wife Mary, with their twelve children, 5 boys and 7 girls, kneeling at the base. On its left is the tomb of Walter Devereaux, Viscount Hereford, dating from 1642. He is dressed in the attire of the time, and lies with his wife, who wears a slashed sleeve gown and lace cap, underneath a arch adorned with flowers. On the wall above them is a monument to Essex Devereaux, Sir Walter's elder son who drowned in 1639 whilst boating on the river Teme with his friend George Freke.

[Image 7] A Nicholson organ, originally from Bury St Edmunds in Sussex, was replaced in 1997 by another Nicholson, from St Nicholas's Church in Worcester, dating from 1887, which has "a full singing sound, capable of a great range of tone and expression". Note the diffused pink lighting on the wall behind it.

[Image 8] The Pulpit (not mentioned in the guide book) is octagonal with carvings that resemble those on the wooden screen in the South Aisle, and as can be seen from the photograph, stands on an elaborately carved base. Also not mentioned in the guide book is the figurine of (presumably) the Virgin Mary, contained in a niche in the wall between nave and chancel, on the opposite side to the pulpit - very "High Church".

This account is derived from the booklet A History of the Church of St Edburga, available from inside the Church.

Denomination

Now or formerly Church of England.

If more than one congregation has worshipped here, or its congregation has united with others, in most cases this will record its original dedication.

Maps

This Church is located at OS grid reference SO7842053451. You can see this on various mapping systems. Note all links open in a new window:

Reference

  • Places recorded by the Registrar General under the provisions of the Places of Worship Registration Act 1855 (2010) is available as a "Freedom of Information" document from the website What Do They Know.
Last updated on 3 Jul 2011 at 00:00.

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This Report was created 26 Jul 2017 - 21:24:51 BST from information held in the Worcestershire section of the Places of Worship Database. This was last updated on 5 Jan 2016 at 14:44.

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