St. James History

St James Church was built between February 1752 and July 1753 and is a fine example of Georgian architecture. The church build was at a cost of £3,400 to a plan by Mr Carlisle Spedding- a mining engineer in charge of the Whitehaven Collieries of Sir James Lowther. The building known as St James' Chapel was consecrated on the feast of St. James on Wednesday 25th July 1753.

Situated on High Street it has a commanding view down Queen Street towards the centre of the town. The tower of the Church accommodates a ring of twelve bells, two of which were recently cast. One of them is dedicated to the life and work of the late Rev. Russell  Rebert, who was part of the clergy team at St James, and the other to the Millennium. There is also a beautifully engraved inner door depicting associations with Russell's homeland of Sri Lanka.

It was decided in 1753 to install a clock and a bell in the tower so that they could be seen and heard from the town. As the church stood on high ground this would be the ideal place. The original clock cost 30 guineas and was in place until 1943 but was then replaced by a re-modelled one at a cost of £100.

St James' Church Restoration 

1753- 1853 The first hundred years apart from ordinary running repairs and some attention to the lead and guttering on the roof, was not a heavy centennium.

1871 Restoration of the Apse "which would harmonise better with the interior of the church".

1886 The wine glass pulpit was moved to its present site. It had previously been sited in the centre of the Church and the north corner of the Apse where the organ is now sited. The organ was removed from the west gallery to its present position.

1920 A Faculty was obtained to strip the roof and re-roof with Coniston green slates.

1921 The south east recess pews were removed and the recess was converted into the Chapel as part of a War Memorial for the Church.

1922 A Faculty was taken out in order to place arcading similar to that of the War Memorial Chapel, on the north side.
1923 The old cement was taken off the outside wall and replaced with roughcast.

1960 Woodworm infestation in the roof timbers dealt with.

1979 to 1980 The church was reordered. The tiered seats in the galleries in 1980 were removed to give the open space. The altar was moved to a central position. The wine glass pulpit was lowered and the original steps were removed.

1979-1997 Continuous improvement of lighting and redecoration.

1997 Installation of the glass doors.

1998 Installation of two new bells

2000 Installation of Millenium Window & reordering of Memorial Chapel.
2005 Complete reroofing and renewal of rainwater goods. This essential work cost around £250,000

2010 to 2011 Major repair work to the Tower at the front of the building.

2012 Installallation of Sheep's Wool Insulation to roof spaces-the first in the Diocese

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