St David's, Little Dewchurch, Herefordshire

Logo - St. David's, Little DewchurchsliceView of the churchsliceAngel on reredossliceGood Shepherd stained glass

The church and its history

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The chancel

The history of the church goes back to at least the 14th century, and there may have been a church on the site as early as the 7th century. The location of the church may go some way to support a Saxon foundation. Early church sites tend to be tucked away in valley bottoms, close to a source of water. Their churchyards tended to be roughly circular in shape with the church built in the centre.

Only the tower remains of the original medieval building. The rest of the church was designed by Victorian architect Frederick Preedy in 1869 -71. It  has a number of interesting features: the medieval tower housing a set of six bells, a Millennium window designed by local artist Nicky Hopwood, and a 1903 Positive organ.  Preedy designed and manufactured the stained glass in the sanctuary, the reredos and the zinc panels either side, and the pulpit and font.

Below the memorial on the North wall of the nave to those from the village killed in the First World War is a plaque to the memory of John Hansard who was a stoker on HMS Charybdis, sunk by enemy action off Guernsey on 23rd October 1943. As the bodies were washed ashore the Germans occupying Guernsey decided to bury the men with full military honours. The Islanders seized upon this as an opportunity to show their loyalty to Britain and their respect for the men who died. 5,000 Guernsey people attended the funerals, bringing with them 900 wreaths. A local man removed one of the Union flags that draped a coffin as it was lowered into the ground. This was presented to St Johns Church in 1973 where it is now preserved. In all, 464 men died and 107 survived in this tragedy, the biggest single Channel loss of the war. Charybdis Weekend is held in Guernsey each year to commemorate not only the sailors and marines who lost their lives, but also the bravery of the Islanders.

For a fuller report see the BBC Guernsey website

The history of the village suggests that in medieval times the village was located adjacent to the church and the old road from Hereford to Ross and Monmouth. This road followed the route of the present footpath running north/south across Sunnybank.

Roof cross
The Friends of St David's is a group with special concern for the preservation of the building and the churchyard. It  provides support to the regular congregation in this work. 

Millenium window

Millenium window designed by Nicky Hopwood. The flame of the Holy Spirit lights up the countryside.

Raising of Lazarus

South chancel window by Frederick Preedy: The raising of Lazarus