St Eadburgha’s Church is believed to have been built around 1160-90, on the site of a Saxon Church. The Church was dedicated to St Eadburgha, the daughter of Edward the Elder of England and his third wife, Eadgifu of Ken. Eadburgha had chosen a religious life and some of her remains are buried at Pershore Abbey.
The Church on the Snowshill Road, consists of a chancel, a central tower, north and south transepts and north and south aisles. The roof was once thatched and later the nave roof was covered in lead before the present stone tiles. During the 13th century, some windows (which have since been blocked), were inserted in the chancel, the oldest part of the Church. Other windows were added in the 15th century.
The south transept was added in 1300 and the north transept probably about the same time. The tower was built around 1400 within the eastern bay of the nave and at the same time some of the aisle walls were rebuilt. It is believed that during this restoration of the floor, the ringing chamber was removed. The pulpit was originally in The Chapel of Ease and was brightly painted but the paint was accidentally removed when it was renovated.
Against the west wall of the south aisle is one of the newest monuments in the Millennium Stone, inserted in 1972 to celebrate 1000 years of Broadway history.
The tower contains a ring of six bells inscribed:
- 1st: Cantata Domino Canticum Novum, Matthew Bagley made by me 1778. Mr Coleman, Mr Stephens, Churchwardens
- 2nd: Thomas Frost, gentleman, and John Higford Griffiths, gentleman
- 3rd: Walter Savage, William Sheldon, Esq., William Hodges, William Brooks, Churchwardens. Anno Domini, 1608 – WMA BH
- 4th: Walter Savage, William Sheldon, Esq., 1609
- 5th: Cantata Domino Canticum Novum, Matthew Bagley made by me 1778. Mr Coleman, Mr Stephens, Churchwardens
- 6th: Tenor Recast at Gloucester by John Ruddell, A.D. 1828. John Russell and James Stockford, Churchwardens
Since 1916, the bells have been rung from the floor to the tower after a floor higher up was removed and the bell ropes extended.
There are some interesting brasses and tablets inside the church, one to Anthony Daston (1572), Mrs Cecilia Newport (21 March 1766), Walter Savage (1640), William Taylor of Middle Hill (1741) and in the chancel, the Phillipps family of Middle Hill (1794 to 1820). There is also a tomb near the chancel window dated 1613. The oldest tomb in the Church is dated 1517.
Nash in his “History of Worcestershire” vol. 1 says:
In the highest north window in the body of the church were the arms of Sheldon, Brace, Sambach, Pynk, Treton, Savage, Wheeler, and others. There were more paintings in the west window but they are (1779) broken.
In 1875, a piece of land was given by Thomas Halliwell Phillipps as additional burial ground, which was enclosed, levelled and consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Worcester on 8 May 1877.
In 1890, the floor of the chancel was repaired and new pews were added by Mr Flower and were later replaced with locally crafted oak ones in 2010.
Churchwardens have included:
- 1603: Walter Savage, William Sheldon, Williams Hodges
- 1609: Walter Savage, William Sheldon
- 1778: Mr Coleman, Mr Stephens
- 1828: John Russell, James Stockford (of West End)
At the entrance to the new churchyard along from St Eadburgha’s, on the Snowshill Road, there is a lychgate dedicated to the artist Francis D Millet who lived at Russell House and died on the Titanic. In 1932, 20 years after the Titanic disaster, Millet’s son Jack (John Alfred Parsons Millet) sent £120 to St Eadburgha’s for the creation of the lychgate. The inscription was devised by two Harvard classics professors and reads:
FRANCISCO DAVIS MILLET VIRO IN ARTIBVS LITTERISQVE PRAESTANTI QVI NAVI TITANICA FRACTA DVM SPEM TIMIDIS AFFERT MORTEM LAE TVS OPPETIVIT HOC MONVMENTVM SVAVIS AMICITIAE MEMORES SODALES PONENDVM CVRAVERVNT
the English translation is:
To Francis Davis Millet – A man of outstanding attainment in literature and art who, when the ship Titanic was sunk, gladly faced death while bringing hope to those in great need. His intimate friends have had this memorial erected in memory of a dear friendship
Further information about St Eadburgha’s on the website of the Friends of St Eadburgha’s.