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St Swithun, Combe, Berkshire

(51°20′42″N, 1°28′22″W)
SU 368 608
medieval Hampshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now West Berkshire
medieval Winchester
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
31 July 1998, 20 November 2013

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Feature Sets

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.


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.





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".


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