The History of Little Comberton
The history of Little Comberton stretches back over the millennia. The British History Online website suggests that records of the village Manor are present from as long ago as 1086. The abbreviated history of the village below has been kindly provided by Dave Parker. Little Comberton is an ancient village on the northern side of Bredon Hill.
There have been Roman coins and artefacts found in the village and the church, which is originally 12th century, and is thought to stand on the site of a Roman temple. Comberton is recorded in the Domesday Book as belonging to the church of Westminster. Henry VIII granted the manor of Little Comberton to the Duke of Northumberland, and it eventually came into the possession of the Savage family of Elmley Castle. It was eventually sold, and there is now no Lord of the manor.
There are many old houses in the village. The old Manor and Nash’s Farm are thought to be 16th century and are reputed to have belonged to Catherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII. The circular dovecote at Nash’s farm probably pre-dates the house. The Manor is now practically re-built but stands on the site of a house dating back many centuries. It has a dovecote believed to be 17th century. There are many black and white cottages and also Georgian brick built cottages to be seen here.
During the Civil Way of the 17th century, Little Comberton would have seen quite a lot of activity, as both armies were active in the area. In 1644 Parliament (Cromwell) levied a tax of £5-5s per week, on the village, whilst the King levied a tax of £20 per month. Whether this was paid is a matter for speculation, as many villages tried to avoid paying tax. Much the same as happens today. Things don’t really change! The church was a large land owner in the village for many years and this ensured the rector had a comfortable living.
William Parker became rector here in 1826 and remained for over half a century until his death. During his stay, and probably at his instruction, many houses were built. This also included the school (now the village hall), which was originally built in the western corner of the churchyard. It was taken down and rebuilt on its present site in 1897.
The village survived two World Wars and after the First World War, a roll of honour was erected at the cross roads to show appreciation for the sacrifice that the men of the village made for their country. Most of the men returned home, but unfortunately three lost their lives in France.
During the second half of the 20th century, life in the village underwent a huge change. Farming had been the main employer, with the fields growing many vegetable crops including peas, beans, cabbage cauliflower etc. There were also many fruit orchards as well as animals. Sheep, cows, chickens, pigs etc could be seen in the fields. This was all replaced with cereal crops which required far less labour. Families moved out of the village and farm workers cottages were sold. People now had to go out of the village for work.
The Millennium came, and this was marked by the erection of the stone and plaque near the roll of honour at the cross roads. This, then is how the village evolved. It still has its olde world charm, and is still an attractive place to live, with people very friendly and helpful. There are people living in the village who are related to, or are direct descendants of inhabitants from the 19th century. I think that proves what a wonderful place it is.
By D. G. Parker