Priory Church of St Giles, Little Malvern
Malvern Priory (LMP)
Church’s location and status, the Parish and the Local Area
Malvern Priory (St. Giles) is situated in a beautiful location on the East side
of the Malvern Hills in Little Malvern, Worcestershire. The view of the Church
from the east (approaching along the A4104 from Welland) is featured in many
paintings, photographs and cards.
church is part of the Diocese of Worcester within the Church of England, which,
with Hereford and Gloucester, is one of the “Three Choirs” Dioceses.
Worcester Diocese has a rich history about which much more can be found on the
Diocesan website. It comprises two Archdeaconries – Dudley, with 7 Deaneries,
and Worcester, with 6, one of them Malvern.
is a spa town and civil parish. It is spread along the Malvern Hills, a
designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Its centre, Great Malvern, is a
historic conservation area, which grew dramatically in Victorian times due to
the natural mineral water springs in the vicinity, including Malvern Water. To
the North of that are North Malvern and the former independent urban district of
Malvern Link, while to the South lie Malvern Wells and then Little Malvern. West
Malvern is on the Herefordshire side of the hills. These regions are all now
contiguous and are collectively referred to as The Malverns.
1942 Britain’s radar research activity was moved to Malvern, bringing a large
number of research scientists, engineers and supporting staff. By the 1970s the
MOD research establishment had grown to many thousands of professional people.
Since the 1990s these numbers have fallen and the current successor organisation,
QinetiQ Ltd, employs around 600 people in Malvern but other small high tech
companies have grown up around it during the last decade.
parish of Little Malvern, located at the Southern tip of the Malverns, is very
small, containing just 26 dwellings. Amongst them and adjacent to the church is
Little Malvern Court, which is significant in the life of the church (see
in 1127, Little Malvern Priory was a small Benedictine monastery. By the 15th century
the side chapels, transepts and nave had fallen down, leaving the present church
which comprises only the original tower and chancel. The only part of the older
monastic buildings to survive the dissolution was the eastern portion of the
medieval house, which now forms part of Little Malvern Court.
1938 the church of Little Malvern was under the protection of Little Malvern
Court and the Berington family, who although they were Roman Catholic were very
fond of LMP and had kept it in a good state of repair, at significant cost to
themselves. Proposals in 1938 to amalgamate the parish with other local parishes
were resisted, and an endowment was received from, and a trust set up by, a Miss
Hookham (a member of the congregation at the time) on condition that LMP was not
united with any other parish. After heated debate with Diocesan representatives,
LMP continued as a parish with its own vicar.
From 1964 until 1989 LMP had an independent stipendiary incumbent, the Revd. Cox. He was followed by the non-stipendiary incumbent, the Revd Eric Knowles until August 2020.
1981 after considerable further debate, there was a period of about five years
when it was a united benefice with All Saints & St Peters. After that Little
Malvern Priory had its benefice restored.
present incumbent is the Revd. Stephen Sealy.
Our Lay Patron is the owner of Little Malvern Court, Mrs Alex Berington,
who is an Anglican who is a member of the PCC and loyal supporter of the church.
Church building and Churchyard
the choir stalls there is 13th century oak, which is protected by regular
waxing. There is other historical woodwork including the rood screen. The East
window holds glass of European significance, and much of the remainder of the
glasswork in the Priory is of substantial historical importance, as are the
floor tiles in the chancel.
nave contains fixed pews and the font is at the West end. The choir was
extensively repaired by the Berington family in 1864 after its roof collapsed.
is a small single-storey entrance porch / foyer built in 1964, which was crowded
by the inclusions of displays of historical photographs and artefacts for the
interest of visitors alongside notice boards and leaflet stands. It has recently
been substantially tidied and de-cluttered.
that there is a useful utility / flower room and toilet. The cupboards and
worktop in the utility room have recently been restored and enhanced.
is an access door from the Court into the porch.
defibrillator is kept in the boiler room off the porch.
medieval floor tiles in the chancel had long been noted as part of the
historical fabric of LMP, but it has only recently been realised that they may
be of national significance. The Diocesan Advisory Committee was therefore
invited to give advice on their care, and the British Museum was contacted. It
was unaware of the LMP tiles and has asked for a photographic record of them.
Church and Churchyard are surrounded by the lands of Little Malvern Court. The
path from the North door of the church runs North to the entrance on the A4104.
On the opposite side of that road is a car park belonging to the Court, which
Mrs Berington allows to be used for Church services and other functions. There
are signs at the car park entrance to Little Malvern Priory and Court.
and interments of ashes still take place in the churchyard, which is maintained
in a good state by volunteers.
The present incumbent is The Reverend Stephen Sealy tel. 01953 859853 email@example.com
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