The Abbey Church of the Holy Cross, Pershore has been a centre for Christian Worship for over 1300 years. Excavations carried out in 1996/97 revealed evidence of a Church on the site in Saxon times. The present Abbey was established in 972.
The Abbey was surrendered to the King's Commissioners at the time of the Reformation.
The monastic buildings, the Norman nave, the Lady Chapel and St Edburgha's Chapel were demolished and their building materials were sold for what they could fetch. To their credit the parishioners of Pershore bought the monks' quire for £400 to be their parish church.
What remains of the Abbey is the best part: the monk's Quire (which is now the Nave) with its unique ploughshare vaulting, the combined triforium and clerestory, and the magnificent tower with its lantern and free-standing ringing platform created in the 1860's as part of the alterations of Gilbert Scott. The south east transept was rebuilt and most of the present furniture and stained glass was fitted. The lantern tower was opened up by removing the belfry floor to expose the beautiful internal tracery panelling. The Church is a Grade 1 Listed
In 1960 a re-ordering of the sanctuary with details by George Pace cleared away the
Victorian choir stalls and pulpit and the altar was brought westwards from the apse to its present position. By 1990 it was clear that cracks in the south wall of the south transept were becoming serious and the iron heating pipes were leaking. An appeal was launched and restoration of the south transept, tower and roofs was carried out. Towards the end of the 20th Century, as a continuation of the restoration process, a new stone floor was laid with under-floor heating after archaeological investigation. Arising from all this activity has been a great increase in knowledge about the Abbey, the most important discovery being the finding of the Saxon foundations.
Still one of the finest examples of Norman and Early English architecture in the country,
Pershore Abbey is very much a broken building: Henry VIII destroyed the nave at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries; the north transept collapsed in the middle 1600s. But, in spite of its brokenness, the Abbey symbolises a place where, through the love of Christ, a community can become whole.
The Market Town of Pershore has developed significantly since the 1950's and has a population of about 8,500. There are proposals to add a further 1,000 houses by 2026.
There are significant industrial and commercial developments near the Railway Station.
The Abbey Church physically dominates the town and can be seen for many miles. The
Abbey plays a large part in the town and hosts Civic Services for the Town and district
Councils. It is the largest building in the town and a wide range of choral and orchestral concerts are held throughout the year. During December we are pleased to welcome the local schools for their Christmas Carol Services and celebrations.
The Abbey Church has an Electoral Roll of 170 and an average Sunday Congregation of 116.
In addition to the Sunday worship there are three services during the week.
Established in 1931 the founder Dr W.T.Farncombe, and friends, had the foresight to anticipate that the Parish alone might not be able to fund all the necessary Abbey repairs and upkeep. The aims of the Friends are: the preservation, repair, maintenance, restoration and improvement of the fabric of Pershore Abbey including its furniture, ornaments and contents for the benefit of the Public. The Friends provided considerable financial support for the refurbishment of 1996/97 and continues today to provide assistance to the Parochial
Church Council in accordance with its constitution