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St Swithun, Combe, Berkshire

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Feature Sets (2)

Description

Combe is in the far west of the county, in a spur of Berkshire that has borders with Wiltshire, half a mile to the west, and Hampshire, a mile to the south.  The village is merely a few houses flanking a single track road that curves around the southern edge of Walbury Hill with its hillfort.  The nearest town of any size is Hungerford, six miles to the north.  The church consists of an aisleless nave, chancel and shingled W tower. The church is of flint, with chancel arch and S nave doorway of early 13thc., the latter with a brick porch dated 1652. The plain font is the only feature included here, although it probably dates from the early 13thc.

History

Combe was assessed in Hurstbourne hundred (later called Pastrow hundred), Hampshire in the Domesday Survey.  It was held by Ernulf de Hesdin in 1086, and before the Conquest by Eadric. It was assessed at 3 hides before the Conquest and 2 afterwards, and there was a church there and a total of 28 recorded inhabitants, probably representing a population of approximately 120.

After Ernulf's death his widow granted the manor to the abbey of Bec Hellouin in Normandy, and towards the end of the 12thc it was attached to the convent of monks from Bec established at Ogbourne, Wilts.  Combe remained in the hands of the Prior and Convent of Ogbourne until the reign of Henry IV.

Combe remained in Hampshire (and in Winchester diocese) until 1895, when the boundary changes shifted it into Berkshire.

Features

Furnishings

Fonts

Font

To W of S nave doorway. A plain, lead-lined cup-shaped font on a late-medieval pedestal and plinth. The surface has been retooled, and there is a clear line between the lower (spherical) and upper (cylindrical) parts of the bowl. There is a slight chamfer on the rim.

Dimensions
circ. of bowl 1.93 m
ext. diam. at top 0.61 m
h. of bowl 0.42 m
int. diam. at top 0.43 m

Comments/Opinions

The font is the only piece which could conceivably belong to the 12thc., but even this is extremely unlikely, if only because of its small size. Tyack (2010) says "probably 13thc".

Bibliography

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth 1966, 119.

  • G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire.  New Haven and London 2010, 247-48.

  • Victoria County History: Hampshire IV, London 1911, 310-11

Interior to E
Exterior from SE

Location

Site Location
Combe
National Grid Reference
SU 368 608 
Boundaries
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Berkshire
now: West Berkshire
medieval: Hampshire
Diocese
now: Oxford
medieval: Winchester
Dedication
medieval: not confirmed
now: St Swithun
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
31 July 1998, 20 November 2013