St James' Church, Chipping Campden

A living church at the heart of the Community

  • St James' Church
  • Church Street
  • Chipping Campden
  • Gloucestershire
  • GL55 6JG

Church Office: 01386 841927
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Welcome to St. James'.   A newly published Guide to St James' Church is now available for purchase in the church. 

In Summary however:-

There was a Norman church on this site before AD 1180, though it was 
much smaller than the present one. It consisted of a squat tower, a nave
about the same length as today, but without aisles, and a lower, shorter
chancel with a pitched roof. Around AD 1260 the Norman church began a
slow transformation that was to last nearly 250 years.

The chancel was rebuilt, the North aisle constructed with arches to
balance the the Thirteenth century south aisle and the south porch was 
added together with the windows and battlements of both aisles.  About 
AD 1490 the nave was reconstructed with its magnificent arcading built
on the foundations of the old Norman nave.  The great window over the
chancel arch was added, a rare feature of church architecture, which 
provides wonderful light for the nave. 
 
Around AD 1500, the noble West tower was built, adding much grace and 
proportion to the whole. At 120 ft. in height it ensures that the Church is a 
landmark from whatever direction Campden is approached.
 
There is a peal of eight bells, whose dates vary from AD 1618 to AD 1737, 
they were recast and rehung in 1987.  The clock mechanism, dated 1695, 
is now stored under the arch of the tower, having been replaced in 1962.
 
It is thought that there were stained glass windows dating from the 15th
century, but these have disappeared and only fragments remain.  The
fine East Window by Henry Payne was completed in 1925 in memory
of those who fell in the Great War.  The window over the chancel arch
represents the last judgment. 

Preserved behind glass are wonderful survivals from the days before the 
Reformation: the unique pair of Altar Frontals (c.1500) and the Cope 
(c.1400).  The Altar Frontals were copied by command of Queen Mary for 
the High Altar of Westminster Abbey for the coronation ceremony in 1912.

There are fine Fifteenth century brasses, now secured to the Chancel Floor, 
the largest of which commemorates William Grevel "..flower of the wool 
merchants of all England.." The finely carved canopied tomb of Sir Thomas 
Smythe is on the North wall in the sanctuary and is the most remarkable in 
the church. He was Lord of the Manor of Campden until his death in 1593.  
He lived at the court of Henry VIII and was the first Governor of the East 
India Company.
 
The Jacobean pulpit and Flemish lectern are gifts from Sir Baptist Hicks, 
whose ornate tomb is in the Gainsborough Chapel.