Church Lench Church - All Saints'
Church Lench is placed at the top of a hill and has one of the best views in Worcestershire, looking across towards the Malvern Hills. The church is also well worth visiting – descriptions and pictures can be seen elsewhere on the website. The congregation is a welcoming community and offers a variety of worship experiences. There is a warm buzz of chatter as you come into a service and then, just before we begin, a moment of stillness as we prepare to meet with God.
The community enjoys engaging with God in worship, word and – surprisingly often – laughter (it is allowed in church!). As in all our churches, we have a wide range of age groups represented at our different services from Holy Communion, Family Service, Morning Worship and a traditional early morning “Common Prayer” Communion.
Always at 11.00 am on a Sunday except for the 3rd Sunday when it is an 8.30 am Book of Common Prayer service of Holy Communion. During the summer (April-September), we also have a service of Evensong at 6.30 pm on the 4th Sunday.
What's the pattern?
First Sunday: we celebrate a Holy Communion and are welcomed by the bells being rung;
Second Sunday: Morning Worship led by a team from the congregation;
Third Sunday: 8.30 am Service of Holy Communion from the Book of Common Prayer;
Fourth Sunday: Family Service, which involves our young people, and Evensong (April-September)
The Family Service is helped by a Church Council team from the village school.
There is a ramped access across the churchyard from at the west end gate. Inside the church, we store a portable ramp for access into the building on the immediate left beside the door. There are steps to the chancel and altar.
A PA and loop system is installed and covers the congregation area of the church.
Toilets are yet to be installed, but we have access to the village hall next door and their facilities.
130 in the congregation area, 150 if one uses the choir stalls as well.
For normal Sunday services, either on the road in front of the church or in the village hall car park running alongside the west end of the churchyard. At well-attended funerals and weddings, park at The Lenches Club. This is situated about 100 yards west of the church, along the Ab Lench road (follow local signs).
HISTORY OF CHURCH LENCH
Situated on a ridge at the edge of the Avon valley, the parish of Church Lench forms part of the northern boundary of the Vale of Evesham. The parish includes the village of Church Lench, also the neighbouring hamlets of Ab Lench, Atch Lench and Sheriffs Lench. The parish church of All Saints' is situated in the middle of the village of Church Lench.
11th-13th century: Circhlenz or Lench Roculf
Church Lench was listed in the Domesday Book in 1086 as "Circelenz", and in other contemporary manuscripts as "Chichlenz", or "Chyrchlench", indicating that a church already existed in the 11th century. The manor formed part of the lands belonging to Evesham Abbey and was assessed at 4 hides in the Domesday survey. By the end of the century, the manor was granted to Urse d'Abetot, Sheriff of Worcester. His descendants, the Beauchamp family, held the manor throughout the 12th century and may have continued as overlords until the 14th century.
During the 13th century, Church Lench was held by the Roculf family, which led to the parish's alternative name of "Lench Roculf". Documents in the Birmingham City Archives show that during the 13th century, Roger Rokulf (or Roculf), Lord of Chirchelench (or Chircheleng) gave the "Church of the Blessed Mary of Hales" (the abbey of Halesowen) three separate grants of land, also a serf named Luke "with all his chattels and his suit, messuage and garden".
From this point, the land at Church Lench appears to have become divided. The original manor may have been held by Thomas Serchesdene sometime during the 15th century but then disappears from the records. Meanwhile, the portion of land owned by Halesowen Abbey was surrendered to the king in 1538 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. By the end of the 16th century, the land had passed to the Scudamore family of Holme Lacy, then to the Keyt family of Ebrington and Upper Norton, who held it until the middle of the 18th century.
19th century: the Chafy family
During the 19th century, land around Church Lench seems to have been held by the Chafy family from Sherborne. A description of All Saints' church in the second half of the 19th century mentions that many of the stained glass windows were "inserted at the cost of Mr Chafy-Chafy [the Revd W.K.W. Chafy - see Rous Lench, a local landowner", and a county directory of 1876 lists him as lord of the manor and principal landowner. In 1905 a list of the estates of the Revd Dr W.K.W. Chafy mentioned both Rous Lench and Church Lench.
Church Lench school, which opened in 1864, was commissioned by the Revd W. Chafy and built by Frederick Preedy. The inscriptions on the walls read "Laus Deo"; "Feed My Lambs"; "From All False Doctrine Heresy And Schism Good Lord Deliver Us" and "One Body One Spirit One Host One Baptism".