CHURCHES IN THE UNITED BENEFICE OF WEST WOODHAY WITH ENBORNE, HAMSTEAD MARSHALL, INKPEN, COMBE, AND KINTBURY WITH AVINGTON
(The West Berks Cluster)
The United Benefice was formed in 1981, the Rector being the Revd Richard Jeans. In 1994 the living of the Benefice of Kintbury with Avington, was suspended and in 2006, the two parishes were added to the United Benefice of West Woodhay and formed the West Berks Cluster under the Team Rector, the Revd Julie Ramsbottom.
We are all rural parishes facing the pressures that all rural parishes endure. However, the Christian faith is strong and our churches stand as visible expressions of our faith.
Each church is set in beautiful surroundings, is a place of prayer and spiritual refreshment and holder of many valuable historical memories and monuments.
ST. SWITHUN, COMBE
There has been a church on this site since Saxon times dedicated to St. Swithun. It has been described as 'lying in a lonely tree-shaded cradle'.
Built of local flint it dates from the 13th century. A new south doorway was built, using some 12th century stones in its arch, circa 1650. The porch was added in 1652. The nave was re roofed in the sixteenth century and the chancel in the 17thcentury.
The font base is 14th century with a Saxon bowl. The altar rails date from the 18th century.
There are three bells, the oldest of which is pre-reformation c. 1430, the tenor was cast in 1616 and the most recent bell cast in 1831.
St. Swithun's is a Grade 1 listed building. Its charm lies in its peaceful simplicity. The parish has in turn been in the Winchester and Salisbury Dioceses; in 1967, it was transferred to Oxford.