Pencombe is a township, parish, and village located in Herefordshire, England. It is 4 miles (6 km) from Bromyard (the local market town with schools and a hospital) and about 11 miles (18 km) from Hereford, in each case reached by narrow roads. Its buildings, including St John's Church, Pencombe Church of England Primary School, nearby residential home Pencombe Hall and coach house (now a private dwelling), were heavily influenced by the Arkwright family. (In the nineteenth century the Arkwrights were known for the invention of industrial textile equipment; they lived at nearby Hampton Court, accessible via Dinmore Railway Station.) Pencombe is an active community of about 350 people with its own gastropub, the Wheelwright Arms, and modern village hall, which doubles as a cinema for "Flicks in the Sticks". The village hall is also home to Pencombe Under Fives Playgroup, a lively voluntary parent-run group. Pencombe Court, adjacent to the church, is the principal farmstead.
St John's Church is constructed in the Norman style of soft local red sandstone, and replaces a medieval building on the same site. In 2009 a new female parish priest was appointed. Across the road is the former parish hall, opened in the 1890s, now a private dwelling. There is holiday accommodation at Durstone Farm, and at Shortwood family farm, which is signposted as an "open" farm welcoming visitors, selling produce and giving guided tours of the grounds. Shortwood has a play park.
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.
Below is an extract from the Post Office Directory of Herefordshire, 1863. It contains some information about the village in past records.
Pencombe is a parish and village, 4 miles (6.4 km) 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 (0.48 km2) 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, transcribed by Barbara Haner
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