Parishioners will be pleased to know that Mass takes place at 11am on the First Friday of each summer month, starting in April. Please remember to wear stout shoes and share lifts where possible as parking is a little limited.
Many parishioners of St Nicholas will have visited this church in previous years and been enchanted by its antiquity and setting. It is hoped that people from across our three parishes will find this beautiful old church.
There is some building work that needs to be attended to and this will be taken in hand following further consultation with Clifton and the involved of our Health & Safety/Buildings Manager.
Background and history
St James Church is a small, two-cell Norman chapel, restored to Catholic use at the end of the nineteenth century when ornate carved stone decoration was applied internally. The chapel forms part of an important historic group with PostlipHall and its medieval tithe barn. This Norman chapel, reputedly founded by William de Solers about 1139, was used as a farm building for several centuries.
It was restored for Catholic use in 1890-91 for Mr and Mrs Stuart Forster, Catholic converts and friends of Cardinal Manning who had acquired the adjacent Postlip Hall. The chapel was re-consecrated by Bishop Clifford on 16 June 1891. The chapel, built of local stone with a stone-slated roof, is a two-cell structure, consisting of a Norman nave and chancel with a seventeenth-century bell turret with ball finial above the chancel arch, and a northwest sacristy added in 1890-1 at the time of the building’s restoration and return to Catholic use. Late Perpendicular east and west windows have been inserted but a small original Norman window with widely splayed internal jambs remains on each side of both nave and chancel. The Norman south doorway has chevron mouldings at right angles on the arch, with ball enrichments in the hoodmould above, star diapering to the abaci and lintel, a recessed tympanum ornamented with overlapping fishscales and jamb shafts with scalloped capitals. The doorway itself has a later three-centred arch. The interior, with exposed stonework pointed in grey cement, retains its Norman chancel arch with chevron, star and billet decoration.
The Chapel is Grade 1 listed; this means building permission is required for demolition, extension or alteration in a way that will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.
Religious use: the Chapel is consecrated and used occasionally for masses, often held on or near St James’s Day (July 25th).
It should be noted there are no services on the site. Access is through the grounds of Postlip Hall and limited parking is available, courtesy of Postlip Hall. There is an established right of way to the grounds of the Chapel. Access for those with disability is limited.