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Church of St James

A Grade II* Listed Building in Poole Town, Poole

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Latitude: 50.7136 / 50°42'48"N

Longitude: -1.9894 / 1°59'21"W

OS Eastings: 400841

OS Northings: 90438

OS Grid: SZ008904

Mapcode National: GBR XQ0.6J

Mapcode Global: FRA 67Q6.2S1

Entry Name: Church of St James

Listing Date: 14 June 1954

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1217470

English Heritage Legacy ID: 412453

Location: Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, BH15

County: Poole

Electoral Ward/Division: Poole Town

Built-Up Area: Poole

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Poole St James with St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

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Listing Text


958-1/17/10 (North West side)
14/06/54 Church of St James


Church. Rebuilt 1819-21. By John Kent of Southampton and
Joseph Hannaford of Christchurch, in simplified Gothic style,
broadly Perpendicular. Renovated 1893, when re-seated. Purbeck
ashlar with slate roofs.
PLAN: sanctuary with vestibule either side housing staircases
to gallery, aisled nave and west tower flanked by vestry
wings. Single bay projection to east end housing sanctuary and
flanking vestibules, all under one roof.
EXTERIOR: sanctuary has 5-light E window with chamfered
surround extending well below bottom of present window,
4-centred head with hoodmould and Perpendicular-style tracery
probably of 1897. Doorways N and S to vestibules which have
4-panel doors with pointed heads to main panels, overlights
with timber Y-tracery, 4-centred heads and hoodmoulds. Above
each door a 2-light window with timber and tracery, 4-centred
head and hoodmould.
Nave has 5-bay aisles under one roof with 2 tiers of 3-light
windows N and S, all with chamfered surrounds, 4-centred heads
and hoodmoulds; hollow-chamfered wood tracery to windows with
quatrefoils to spandrels. 2 tiers of 2-light windows to W end
of aisles with similar surrounds, Y-tracery with quatrefoils
to heads and hoodmoulds. Offset buttresses between bays and
diagonal offset buttresses to angles.
3-stage tower is built clear of body of church with short link
to nave incorporating a newel stair either side, that to S
leading down to heating chamber, that to S serving tower.
Tower has large W doorway approached by 2 stone steps with
chamfered surround, 2-centred head and hoodmould; Gothic
panelled double-leaf doors and leaded overlight. Original iron
lamp in bracket above. Middle stage has tall 2-light windows
with Y-tracery, end hoodmoulds. Clock faces above windows with
moulded stone surrounds and convex painted iron faces.
Bell-chamber openings to top stage with similar tracery and
hoodmoulds. Diagonal offset buttresses, 2 string courses and
battlemented parapet. Flagstaff on roof with gilded dolphin
Single-storey vestries either side have a 2-light window to N,
S & W sides with hoodmoulds and doorway to E side within short
screen walls to gap between vestries and aisles, which have
chamfered Tudor-arched doorways and coped parapets. Vestries
have flat roofs and battlemented parapets. Chamfered plinths
and battlemented parapets to body of church and eastern
INTERIOR: sanctuary has offset to side walls about half way up
with ornamented cresting. Reredos removed from predecessor's
church to which it was given in 1736 by Richard Pennel: it is
of mahogany and has tripartite composition with Corinthian
pilasters and open pediment; it displays the Lord's Prayer to
the left, the Creed to the right and the Commandments in 2
panels to the centre; above outer panels at capital level
winged cherubs' heads with flower swags and a dove or eagle in
glory emerging from clouds above central panels and projecting
into pediment, all carved in relief and gilded.
C19 altar rail of mahogany on wrought-iron balustrade, the
rails terminating in winged angels' heads either side of entry
to Sanctuary. The nave arcades support galleries round 3 sides
of nave at mid-height and a plaster rib vault. The columns are
of pine from Trinity Newfoundland and are composed of 4
circular shafts bolted together to give piers of quatrefoil
sections rising to plain capitals with circular top moulding.
Galleries have panelled fronts. Royal Arms of George IV of
carved and painted wood to centre to W gallery front presented
by the Mayor of Poole George Welch Ledgard in 1821. Gallery
clock of same date signed WATTS POOLE.
Screen at W end of nave, inscribed on vestibule side with
benefactors from 1612 to present day. Early C19 font of
mahogany with tripod base on castors, stem of 3 clustered
shafts with bell-shaped capital and circular bowl with
quatrefoil ornament in lozenges which project below with
pendant finials; reeded cover rising to urn finial.
St Paul's chapel at E end of S aisle: C18 communion table of
mahogany and reredos of C18 panelling with fluted pilasters
and incorporating 5 Renaissance panels with grotesque
ornament. Organ at E end of N aisle removed from W gallery
presented to church in 1799 by Benjamin Lester with pipework
from organ of St John at Hackney by Sneteler. Brass lectern of
1887 and oak pulpit of 1894. E window, called the Mariners
Window of 1897.
MEMORIALS: extensive series of wall monuments, many removed
from old church, including brass inscription plaque to Edward
Man d.1608, another to Edward Man, 1622; white marble wall
monument to George Lewen d.1718, a cartouche on a draped
background with cherubs' heads and scull above acanthus
bracket; another to Sir William Phippard MP, d.1724, of veined
white marble with cherubs' head and urn finial erected 1774
and signed M Meatyard.
Other leading citizens commemorated include Peter Jolliff,
d.1730, on white marble drapery tablet surmounted by cartouche
of arms, erected 1737; Sir Peter Thompson FSA, MP for St
Albans d.1770 on white marble tablet surmounted by flat
obelisk with coat of arms; William Spurrier d.1809 on a white
marble tablet surmounted by draped female mourner clasping
funerary urn, signed I Hiscock, and Thomas Parr, deputy
provincial Grand Master, d.1824, on tall white marble wall
monument in S gallery, carved in relief with cherubs and
masonic symbols to head, erected by his brethren.
HISTORICAL NOTE: the first mention of a church at Poole is in
1142, when the chapel of St James was given to endow the new
Priory of Bradenstoke, Wilts together with the church of
Canford (qv). The decision to rebuild the medieval parish
church was taken in February 1819 but the rebuilding of the
tower was not agreed upon until January 1820, which probably
explains why it is a semi-independent structure.
The original architects' model survives showing some features
which were not finally executed: the tower was to have a spire
with a ball finial and the eastern projection was to be
divided into 2 floors with a vestry on the ground floor, and a
Sunday school on the first floor, and to have 2 tiers of
windows with a quatrefoil window to the gable.
The foundation stone was laid 31 May 1819. The total cost of
rebuilding was »11,740 to which the parish contributed »6,000,
the Corporation »1,000 and subscribers »2,010. The tower cost
»2,730. A stone tablet in the tower on E wall of first floor
is inscribed 'This church was erected AD 1820 Revd Pet' Wm
Joliffe Minister, JB Bloomfield Rob' Slade Jun' Churchwards
Thos Benham, Builder'. The new church was opened on Easter
Monday 23 April 1821, St Georges' Day.
The rebuilding of St James's was the culmination of the almost
complete rebuilding of the town which took place between 1700
and the early C19, the period of Poole's greatest prosperity.
St James's is an exceptionally complete and virtually
unaltered late Georgian church of high architectural quality.
(RCHME: County of Dorset (South East): London: 1970-: 192-195;
Buildings of England: Pevsner N & Newman J: Dorset: London:
1972-; Poole Parish Church: A History and Guide: Poole:

Listing NGR: SZ0084190438

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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