- overview

Little is known of the early history but the parish was a dependency of the Benedictine Abbey of Pershore until its dissolution in 1540. The Abbots of Pershore built a country residence in Broadway – the house called Abbots Grange, just a short distance from this church. When Broadway village began to develop around the present High Street it was at a considerable distance from the ancient church of St. Eadburgha, the parish church since the latter part of the 12th century. The church can be visited further along Snowshill Road. It soon became evident that a more accessible place of worship would be required to meet the needs of the population. As early as 1608 a chapel-of-ease was built between St Eadburgha’s and the High Street. This chapel was for the convenience of parishioners in bad weather – it was a small stone building with a bell-turret. The roof was of wood and the pulpit painted blue and gold. Nothing now remains of this building, as it was entirely demolished when the new church was built on the same site in 1839. This new parish church, dedicated to St. Michael and All Angels, is a building of considerable size designed in the late 13th century style and built of sandstone with slate roofs. The church has two aisles and a chancel as well as north and south vestries and a west tower with a small bell inscribed ‘Pro Rege et Populo 1608’.

The church has not always been as it now. St Michael's was designed to seat 950 persons - 420 to be free and un-appropriated.  In the beginning it had north, south and western galleries. The only one now remaining is the western which houses the organ. It was customary for the boys to be seated in the galleries on one side and the girls on the other. In 1920 the galleries were taken down as they had been a source of nuisance on the few occasions, when they had been used, as the occupants tended to misbehave.

On the left of the door some modern memorial windows commemorate a former vicar of the parish, Revd V.H. Patrick and his wife Ida. The scenes represented are Mary & Joseph finding Jesus among the doctors of the law in the Temple and St Andrew with the boy who provided the five loaves and two small fish for the feeding of the 5000 as described in St John’s Gospel. Both windows were designed and made by Joseph Nuttgens of High Wycombe in 1959.

Continuing down the left-hand aisle we come to the Nativity window with the caption ‘Unto you is born in the City of David a Saviour’. Next to this hangs the new ‘Millennium Banner’ which represents Christ in the world standing on the earth, with the sea and sky above. The colours of the rainbow represent the diversity of human life and the message is ageless - that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and for ever.

At the far end of the aisle is the war memorial to those killed in the Second World War. In the case is the Roll of Honour with the names of those from Broadway who were killed in both World Wars. Above the memorial are kept the Standards of the local branch of the Royal British Legion.

Moving into the centre of the church we see the wooden chancel screen with its carved inscriptions on the chancel arch. This is a war memorial of the Great War of 1914-18. Until about 1920 the church had no chancel screen, just a low stone wall and pulpit.

In the chancel there are several inscribed commemorative tablets on the walls and the panelling. Here are some more fine Nuttgens windows. The first of these on the left shows St Eadburgha, the patron saint of the original parish church of Broadway. She was the grand-daughter of King Alfred and became an Abbess; this is shown by her royal robes and the staff in her hand. She is holding a model of the church of St Eadburgha’s. The second window shows St Michael to whom the present parish church is dedicated. He holds the scales of justice and the flaming sword which kept Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden.

On the other side of the chancel, the first window to the right of the Altar depicts St Christopher, the patron saint of travellers, bearing the child Jesus across the tempestuous crossing of a river. The last of the four Nuttgens windows shows Elizabeth of Hungary, a 12th Century queen noted for her kindness to the poor. Legend tells how, when she was taking food to the poor in a basket, her husband angrily demanded to see what was in it. When she uncovered it, the loaves had become roses! All these windows commemorate the Payton family (1847-1946). They blend well with the East Window, a Boer War Memorial.

The Memorial Windows in the east are also due to the influence of The Revd. H.V. Patrick as he had served as a missionary in Japan, before becoming Vicar of Broadway. A panel shows Mount Fujiyama. Mrs Barrie Brown, one of Revd. Patrick’s daughters had the window installed in memory of her husband in 1967.

The pulpit, which is a fine example of early 17th Century wood carving, was probably the original pulpit in the chapel-of-ease on this site, although it had been moved to St Eadburgha's Church and was subsequently transferred from there in 1920. There is a stone tablet recording its return on the wall by the steps at the back. It was reconstructed and part of it was also used to form a 17th C oak chair which has since, unfortunately, been stolen from the sanctuary.

The Kendall Memorial Baptistry, dedicated in July 1965, is aesthetically pleasing. The fine memorial lettering on the font plinth was made by a local carver, Bryant Fedden of Winchcombe. The font was moved from the NW corner of the nave to its present position near the pulpit in 2005.

As you leave the church, on each side of the inner doorway is a list of the Vicars of Broadway going back to the 13th Century. And in the entry porch is the foundation board which records in some detail the building of the church. The stairs lead to the western gallery and the organ, a fine instrument thanks to the efforts of a former Organist and Choirmaster, Mr. J. Gilbert Mills, (d. 1982)  

The church is open daily and services take place each Sunday & Wednesday as on the notice board and visitors are always made most welcome.

Please check out our website: stmichaelsbroadway.org