Enborne St Michael

Enborne’s Anglican parish church is that of St Michael and All Angels. It stands on a hill overlooking Newbury, beside the main farm of the village and opposite one of two entrances to Hamstead Park.

Enborne-St-Michael

Architectural history

St Michael’s first appears in thirteenth-century documentation, but is thought to date from possibly two centuries earlier. The font is considered to be Saxon. The main structure is early Norman, of flint and rubble, with later additions. A restoration of 1878 revealed fourteenth-century wall paintings, one of which on the chancel wall, depicting the Annunciation, survives today. A further renovation took place in 1893 when, among other features, the present wooden bell tower was built. St Michael’s is detailed in Nikolaus Pevsner’s Berkshire.

Enborne-St-Michael-wall-pai

Rectory

A list of rectors dating back to 1255 is posted in the church. Occasionally the rectory has been held in plurality with the next door parish of Hamstead Marshall (both livings being in the gift of Lord Craven for centuries). In 1926 the two benefices were formally united. This was expanded in 1981 with the addition of West Woodhay, Inkpen and Combe, and in 2005 doubled in size with the further addition of Kintbury with Avington.

The united benefice falls within the deanery of Newbury, which in turn comes under the suffragan bishop of Reading. Overall, the church in Enborne is administered by the diocese of Oxford. (In 1836 this arrangement replaced the historic affiliation of Berkshire with the diocese of Salisbury.)

The church is usually open. The original rectory house is now in private hands, but the rector of the united benefice still lives next door to the church, now in a modern house.

Churchyard

The north-eastern area of the graveyard is said to contain many graves of those who fell in the battle of Newbury in 1643, but there is no documentation to support this, other than evidence that following the battle the rector of Enborne was charged by the king with dealing with fatalities.

St Michael’s MIs were recorded in 1929, and copies of this handwritten transcription are filed in the Berkshire FHS library, as well as in the Berkshire Record Office and the public libraries of Reading and West Berks (Newbury).

Registers

The registers go back to 1612, but the Commonwealth period is missing. West Berks Library has a typed and indexed transcript of BTs, and the Berkshire Record Office also has the registers on microfilm. Some copies are also held by Swindon and Wiltshire History Centre reflecting Berkshire's former allegiance (up to 1836) to the Salisbury diocese. Burials are indexed in the Berkshire Burial Index published by Berkshire FHS.

Additional information