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Parish Church of St James the Great

A Grade I Listed Building in Thorley, Hertfordshire

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Latitude: 51.8487 / 51°50'55"N

Longitude: 0.1415 / 0°8'29"E

OS Eastings: 547604

OS Northings: 218844

OS Grid: TL476188

Mapcode National: GBR LCS.0LY

Mapcode Global: VHHLV.DSPN

Plus Code: 9F32R4XR+FJ

Entry Name: Parish Church of St James the Great

Listing Date: 22 February 1967

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1213947

English Heritage Legacy ID: 398623

ID on this website: 101213947

Location: St James's Church, Thorley, East Hertfordshire, CM23

County: Hertfordshire

District: East Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: Thorley

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: Thorley

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

Tagged with: Church building

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(west side)
Thorley village

4/9 Parish Church of
St James the Great


Parish church. Early C13 two cell church with square ended
chancel and unaisled nave fossilized at present size by migration
of settlement to Thorley Street. S door C12 reset. Simple S
porch altered after 1832. Early C15 unbuttressed W tower of 3
stages with buttressed stair projection on S, crenelated parapet,
slender spike and weathercock. C19 vestry on N. Works recorded
in 1691 (HRO and EHAS Trans (1899) 65-9): 1822 (Kelly 1862):
1834 (HRO). Restorations in 1846 by G E Pritchett (1824-1912)
(Pevsner (1977) 363): and Lewis Vulliamy (1791-1871) in 1854/5
(Kelly 1898). Fittings by G G Scott probably c.1870 (EHAS Trans
(1899)) and reredos by J Day 1884 (Pevsner). Flint rubble
walling with limestone dressings. Steep pitched roofs restored
in C19. Red tiling renewed in 1951. Nave walls raised in red
brick c.C17. Exterior rendered except 2 lower stages of tower, W
end of nave and S wall up to porch. C12 S doorway has spiral
fluted shafts, capitals with elementary upright leaves at the
angles, chevron ornamented arches in 2 orders, and flatter arch
to tympanum. Door C19 with decorative ironwork. C13 lancet
windows central in N and S walls of nave and chancel with another
and C13 N doorway in chancel. Chancel arch has 2 chamfered
orders with semi-octagonal responds, moulded capitals and
waterholding bases, possibly late C13 (Pevsner). C14 cinquefoil
piscina and triple stepped sedilia with ogee tracery in S wall of
chancel. Small trefoil piscina under SE window of nave and rood
stair with upper and lower doors in thickened N wall at E. C14
Decorated style tracery of SW and higher SE windows of chancel
and the W window (? reset in tower in C15) were noted by Glynn
before the restoration and shown in Buckler's drawings of 1832
(HRO). This tracery was renewed and the E window reconstructed
by Pritchett in 1846. C15 2-light windows in nave at E and W
ends of S wall, and E end of N wall, and C19 copy at W end of N
wall. Tall C15 tower arch of 3 moulded orders with pilastered
jambs and moulded capitals and bases. Unusual small doorway to
stair with broad chamfer and projecting fillet moulded shafts
with foliated capitals. Elaborate C15 W doorway with 2-centred
moulded arch within a square outer order and decorated spandrels
under higher label. The outer arch order and spandrels renewed
in 1976. Small stoup under segmental head to S of door. 3-light
W window has carved heads as hood mould stops. Small rectangular
openings to middle stage of tower and 2-light quatrefoil openings
to belfry appear unrestored C15 work. Moulded arch braced timber
roofs with 3 tiers of wind bracing, with plain stone corbels in
nave and trefoil pierced wooden corbels in chancel, presumably by
Pritchett in 1846. C12 square font with flared sides each with 5
shallow blind arches. Low moulded stone base by Scott. Carved
wooden pulpit, reading desk and 8 bay low trellised wooden altar
rails also by Scott. Long white marble reredos unveiled 1884
(EHAS Trans 1899) with coloured marble inserts, carved and gilded
panels behind altar flanked by gabled aedicules with Lord's
Prayer and Creed on N and Ten Commandments on S, and carved
floral panels at sides. Inscription on brass to John Duke 1606
under SE nave window. Fine series of C18 wall monuments in

A C13 church preserved by migration of village to Thorley Street.
Set on high ground and a focal point in the landscape. On a
moated site at the centre of the shrunken village of Thorley.
(RCHM (1911) 219-20: VCH III (1912) 375-6: Pevsner (1977) 365).
The C17 stocks and whipping post noted in the churchyard in RCHM
(1911) were removed for safekeeping to Cemetery Lodge Museum,
Bishops Stortford in 1980.

Listing NGR: TL4760418844

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