St James' 1911

St James from British History Online - Abinger (1911)

The church of St James consists of a chancel 29ft. 7in. long and 18ft. wide, a large north chapel with arcade of three bays 38ft. 4in. long and 17ft. 9in. wide, a south vestry and organ bay, a nave 47ft. 9in. long and 18ft. wide, a south porch and western bell-turret. The roofs are covered with Horsham slates.

The present nave is that of an early 12th-century church which had a chancel smaller than the present one. About 1220 this chancel was rebuilt and made equal in width to the nave, and a north chapel was added at the same time or very soon after. From that date the building remained little altered to modern times, when a south vestry and organ bay were added and a south porch built (1857). The bell-turret is old, but of uncertain date. The east window of the chancel consists of three modern lancets. Below the sill is a moulded string-course with bosses which runs round the south wall as far as the vestry, breaking up to form labels over a trefoiled piscina and a single chamfered sedile, both being modern. Above is a single trefoiled window in new stone. The arcade to the chapel is of three bays with pointed arches of two chamfered orders with hollow labels, and has been reworked and in part rebuilt. The pillars are round, with moulded capitals and bases. In the east wall of the chapel are three 13th-century lancets with chamfered rear arches, and in the north wall three similar lancets, but with external rebates. At the west end of the north wall is a small modern porch over a doorway which has a pointed arch of two orders with a label, the inner order having a raised zig-zag moulding. The outer order has jamb-shafts with foliate capitals and shafts, one capital and perhaps a little of the label being late 12th-century work, but all the rest is modern or reworked. It is clearly not in its original position. In the west wall of the chapel is a lancet with an external rebate like those on the north.

There is no chancel arch. On the south side the nave wall sets back a few inches at the east, but a few feet down the nave regains its original 12th-century thickness, though setting back here and on the north side a little below the windows. Of these there are three in the north and south walls, short and narrow round-headed lights set high in the wall. They date from the beginning of the 12th century, but have been a good deal repaired. The south wall has at the east a late 15th-century square-headed window of three trefoiled lights, inserted to light an altar, and the south door is in modern 13th-century style. There is a blocked round-headed west doorway showing internally only, and above it a modern three-light window of 14th-century style.

The organ chamber on the south side of the chancel has an arcade of one sub-divided bay. In the south wall are two modern lancets; the vestry adjoining it has an outer doorway, a modern lancet opening from the chancel, and another on the external wall. The chancel and north chapel roofs are modern, but that of the nave is old, with canted sides, boarded, and with simple beaded fillets, perhaps of 17th-century date. The font at the west of the nave is modern, in 13th-century style; and the fittings are all modern except the altar table, which has some carving apparently of 18th-century date.

There are three bells; two bear the inscription 'William Eldridge made mee, 1674'; the third was recast by Mears and Stainbank in 1880, but was probably originally of the same date as the others.

The plate consists of a silver cup, with cover paten, a plate, and a flagon, all with the London hall-mark of 1736 [later removed to the Diocese of Guildford for safe-keeping]. They are inscribed,' The gift of the Countess of Dongall and the Earl her son.' There is a brass almsdish presented in 1880 by Miss M. A. Roe.

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