History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Parish Church of St James the Great

A Grade II* Listed Building in High Wych, Hertfordshire

We don't have any photos of this building yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 51.8067 / 51°48'24"N

Longitude: 0.1214 / 0°7'16"E

OS Eastings: 546352

OS Northings: 214131

OS Grid: TL463141

Mapcode National: GBR LD4.MHY

Mapcode Global: VHHM1.2V0C

Entry Name: Parish Church of St James the Great

Listing Date: 22 February 1967

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1220513

English Heritage Legacy ID: 394243

Location: High Wych, East Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire, CM21

County: Hertfordshire

District: East Hertfordshire

Civil Parish: High Wych

Traditional County: Hertfordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hertfordshire

Church of England Parish: High Wych St James

Church of England Diocese: St.Albans

Find accommodation in

Listing Text

(west side)
High Wych Village

16/13 Parish Church of
St James the Great


Parish Church. 1860-61 by George Edward Pritchett (1824-1912)
for and chiefly at the cost of Rev H F Johnson (memorial in
chancel). '1860' on rainwater heads and on brick at NE corner of
nave. Foundation stone laid 25.7.1860: completed and
consecrated 17.6.1861 (Bishops Stortford Observer 20.4.1861 and
29.6.1881). A striking village church in Pritchett's personal
interpretation of the Early English style. A vast red tile roof
tops low buttressed walls of uncoursed knapped flints with red
brick bands and stone lancet windows and dressings. The brick
bands run round the buttresses, and red brick and knapped flint
voussoirs alternate in outer arches over the 2-centred arched
stone heads of all windows and doors. The interior is in white
brick with red brick bands, the chancel and apse are vaulted in
brick and have painted linear diaper and foliage decoration on
vault and walls. There is a lofty 4-bay nave, S aisle, S porch,
SW round tower, a raised chancel, eastern apse, and SW vestry
with a rounded E end. The rounded plan forms are echoed in the
part-conical roof forms of tower, apse and vestry, flanking the
higher gabled nave roof. The narrower octagonal bell stage and
shingled fleche of the tower do not detract from the dominance of
the nave. The aisle roof continues the nave roof at a flatter
pitch. There is no clerestory and the nave is lit by tall paired
lancets on the N and 3 lancets above the W door. Externally,
this has 2 recessed orders with dog-tooth ornamentation to the
inner, a cross worked in red brick on each side and glazed
ceramic plaques with alpha and omega, set into the bottom stone
of each jamb. The S porch has a large apsidal bulge on the W,
low trefoil headed windows on the E, and an ornamental dog-tooth
arch with an outer order with deep hollows springing from a
recessed shaft with foliate capital. 2 ornate iron boot
scrapers. 2 simple chamfered orders to S door with hood-mould
stops of king and bishop. Interior of church virtually
unaltered. The arcade with red and white voussiors is carried on
single slender stone columns with the exaggeratedly large square
foliate capitals prominent in the wall paintings in the nave of
St Albans Abbey. The 2 narrow arches on a central column under a
wider arch, used between chancel and vestry, seems to be from a
similar source although the column is here repeated in the depth
of the wall as in a cloister. Polychrome encaustic tile floor.
Contemporary stained glass windows in chancel and apse and
slightly later in nave, aisle and vestry. Jambs of brick chancel
arch have dog-tooth arrises up to stone block at springing of
chamfered brick arch with hood mould and foliate stops. Similar
arch next to apse. Stone pulpit in NE corner with quatrefoil
panel of a sower carved on W face, foliage carved shelf corbel, a
marble shaft below an integral stone bible shelf, and stone steps
on the S side. Square stone font on 4 marble pillars, with
figure carving on each face. Organ by 'Father' Willis about
1881, renovated by Willis 1946. Carved oak lectern by Warham
Guild 1947. Original stone and marble reredos extends all round
the apse with aumbrey and piscina in aedicules at ends. Carved
surface diaper with openwork carved cresting with 4 freestanding
shafts carrying angels above cresting. Marble figure panel
behind altar. Altar-rails and dwarf screens to chancel by Warham
Guild 1949. Gabled stone aedicule on S face of round tower has
clockface set between spiral columns with 6-pointed star carved
above. A striking church of original design of which
contemporary critics said it shows considerable skill on the part
of the architect (Ecclesioloqist (1861) 282) and which Pevsner
regarded as "as original in its handling of Gothic forms as
anything in the Art Nouveau of forty years later" (Pevsner (1977)
195-6). The church is of the greatest architectural interest,
unaltered and retaining its original scheme of painted decoration
counterpointing the white and red brickwork of the interior. It
is also the key central building in the group of contemporary
flint buildings by Pritchett for Rev H F Johnson built to furnish
the centre of the newly created parish. (Sources; Builder
8.3.1912 p 283: WEA II (1967) 28-30).

Listing NGR: TL4635214131

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

Selected Sources

Book cover links are generated automatically from the sources. They are not necessarily always correct, as book names at Amazon may not be quite the same as those used referenced in the text.

Source title links go to a search for the specified title at Amazon. Availability of the title is dependent on current publication status. You may also want to check AbeBooks, particularly for older titles.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.