About Us - the ARCH Benefice

Map showing location of ARCH BeneficeWhat is the ARCH Benefice?

The ARCH Benefice comprises the parishes of Abbots Morton, Rous Lench, Church Lench and Harvington; part of the Evesham Deanery in the Archdeaconry and Diocese of Worcester.

The benefice was formed in 2001, with the Revd Richard Thorniley being appointed as the first incumbent, and Rector of each of the parishes. Today he is assisted by the Revd Fran Battin and the Revd Steve Jordan, with able support from the members of the parishes.

The parish churches within the benefice are: St Peter's, Abbots Morton; St Peter's Rous Lench; All Saints', Church Lench and St James the Great, Harvington.

Where is the ARCH Benefice?

The parishes in the benefice can be found a few miles north of Evesham, Worcestershire: Harvington lies close to the River Avon while Church Lench, Rous Lench and Abbots Morton lie amongst the higher ground to the north-west.

The parish of Church Lench includes the nearby villages of Ab Lench, Atch Lench and Sheriffs Lench, while Rous Lench parish incorporates Radford and Abbots Morton includes Morton Spirt, The Low and Gooms Hill.

Church Lench, Ab Lench, Atch Lench and Sheriffs Lench, together with Rous Lench, make up the group of villages known locally as "The Lenches". The name "Lench" is believed to derive from the Old English word for "an extensive hill slope" while a local interpretation is "a hill flat enough to plough".

The area has a long history: Abbots Morton, Harvington and all the Lenches were mentioned in the Domesday book, and all four parish churches have traces of earlier buildings dating from the 12th century.