St John, Pencombe
This is a community of about 350 souls, with a church, a gastropub, the Wheelwright Arms, and modern village hall, which doubles as a cinema for "Flicks in the Sticks".
St John's Church is built in the Norman style of soft local red sandstone. It replaced a mediæval building on the same site.
Across the road is the former parish hall, opened in the 1890s, now a private dwelling.
In the Post Office Directory of Herefordshire, in 1863 it says of Pemcombe:
Pencombe is a parish and village, 4 miles west from Bromyard (its post town), 6 west from Dinmore Railway Station, and 11 from Hereford, in Broxash hundred, Bromyard union and county court district, Frome deanery, and Hereford archdeaconry and bishopric. The church is a very ancient and remarkable building in the Norman style; the tower (of stone) was rebuilt in 1840, and contains 3 bells; it has nave, a chancel, apse, porch, an ancient font, and three modern tablets. The register dates from 1565. The living is a rectory, worth £490 yearly, with residence and 119 acres of glebe land, in the gift of John H. Arkwright, Esq., and held by the Rev. George Arkwright, M.A., of Oriel College, Oxford. There is a Sunday and Day school for boys and girls, supported by the rector. The Rectory House is very pleasantly situated, half a mile from the church. The population in 1861 was 415; the acreage is 3,955. The soil is clayey; the subsoil partly stone. John H. Arkwright, Esq., is lord of the manor and chief landowner. The chief crops are wheat, beans, oats, and clover. A court leet is held at the Court-house once in three years; and by an ancient custom the lord of the manor claims a pair of gilt spurs when a mayor of Hereford dies while in office.—Post Office Directory of Herefordshire, 1863
About the village
The most prominent buildings of the village include St John's Church, Pencombe Church of England Primary School, and Pencombe Hall.
Pencombe Hall, once the manor house, is now a residential home. Its coach house is now a private dwelling. The house was heavily influenced by the Arkwright family, who in the nineteenth century were known for the invention of industrial textile equipment; they lived at nearby Hampton Court,
There is holiday accommodation at Durstone Farm.
The land is fully cultivated and is mostly arable, with hops and fruit (under polytunnels) on the west-facing slopes.
Westwards out of the village the road climbs steeply to the local sports ground (host to the local cricket and football teams) and along a ridge giving magnificent views back across the valley and towards Bromyard Downs and the Malvern Hills. This is some of the most open countryside in Herefordshire.
Pencombe Parish Hallprovides a venue for a number of community events and a playgroup.
Pencombe Court, adjacent to the church, is the principal farmstead.
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