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Former Church of St James

A Grade II* Listed Building in Chignall, Essex

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Latitude: 51.7608 / 51°45'38"N

Longitude: 0.4177 / 0°25'3"E

OS Eastings: 566952

OS Northings: 209663

OS Grid: TL669096

Mapcode National: GBR NHR.JG5

Mapcode Global: VHJK1.606J

Plus Code: 9F32QC69+83

Entry Name: Former Church of St James

Listing Date: 10 April 1967

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1122199

English Heritage Legacy ID: 112478

Location: Chignall, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1

County: Essex

District: Chelmsford

Civil Parish: Chignall

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

Church of England Parish: Chignal Smealey St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Chelmsford

Tagged with: Former church

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The nave and chancel are of uncertain date, but the earliest features are late C13 and early C14. There was some work in the C15, when the roofs were redone and some windows inserted. The E and S walls of the chancel were rebuilt in the early C16, when the N rood stair turret and nave windows were also added. The church was restored in 1865, and the porches are C19. A bell turret was replaced in the C19 with a small stone bell cot over the W nave gable. The church was made redundant in 1981 and was converted to a house by Patrick Lorimer c.1989, when an upper floor was inserted.

Flint rubble with some stone and Roman brick. Dressings of stone and Roman brick. Tile roofs.

Nave and chancel in one, the chancel slightly narrower than the nave. N rood stair turret, N and S porches. Inserted floor.

The chancel has a C15, 2-light traceried E window with a four centred head. There is a late C15 window in the N wall and a C16 brick window of two lights with uncusped Y-tracery under a hood mould in the chancel S wall. There are similar C16 brick windows in the nave N and S walls. The N rood stair turret is half-hexagonal and projects like a large buttress. The N porch was added in the C19 and the S porch, which is timber on dwarf stone walls, was rebuilt in the C19. The small, stone W bellcot on the nave W gable was also rebuilt in the C19. There are small dormers in the nave roof.

The interior has been converted to domestic use and has an inserted floor over the nave accessed by a large, timber spiral staircase towards the W end. There is no chancel arch. The C16 doors to the rood stair, subsequently converted to serve the pulpit have been preserved. The chancel roof is probably C15 with trussed rafters and a tie beam at the W end; the nave roof is late C15, and now floored in to create an upper story, has carved and moulded wall plates and trussed rafters, with curved moulded braces on the collar truss in the middle decorated with the crests of Stafford and Bourchier. The tie beam at the W end formerly supported a bell turret.

There is a C13 or C14 piscina rest in the chancel. The C19 pulpit and some C19 glass has been retained.

A priest is mentioned at Chignall in Domesday book of 1086, and while this presumably implies the presence of a church, it is unclear if it refers to that at Chignall St James or St Nicholas, Chignall Smealey. The living, always poor, was united with that of Mashbury by the early C19 and was united to Chignall Smealey in 1888. Chignall St James church became redundant in 1981 and was converted to a house. The architect, Patrick Lorimer, is known for conservation work on churches and other buildings in Scotland and England.

Buildings of England: Essex (2007), 225
RCHME Essex II (1921), 44-5

The former church of St James, Chignall St James, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Medieval parish church of the C13 and C14, restored in the C19 and sympathetically converted to a house in the late C20.
* Retains C15 and C16 windows and C15 roofs.

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