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Parish Church of St. James

A Grade II* Listed Building in Holywell, Flintshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.2772 / 53°16'37"N

Longitude: -3.2232 / 3°13'23"W

OS Eastings: 318533

OS Northings: 376276

OS Grid: SJ185762

Mapcode National: GBR 5ZXJ.ZY

Mapcode Global: WH76K.GWCJ

Entry Name: Parish Church of St. James

Listing Date: 26 July 1951

Last Amended: 19 August 1991

Grade: II*

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 428

Building Class: Religious, Ritual and Funerary

Location: Immediately above and to E of St Winefride's Well Chapel; churchyard to S. Also reached from the lower end of Well Street.

County: Flintshire

Community: Holywell

Traditional County: Flintshire

History

C14 Perpendicular church, largely rebuilt 1769-70 (possibly to the desgins of Thomas Meredith) and then remodelled, principally by addition of chancel, in 1884-5 by Matthew Wyatt (cost £3000). Further alterations in 1905. A church was founded here in C7 by St Beuno and was originally dedicated to his niece St Winefride; the rededication (ca 1770) may have been made to dissociate the Protestant church from the Catholic practices below at St Winefride's Well. Rubble construction, coursed to substantially C14 tower; low pitched roof

Exterior

3-stage W tower with added crenellated parapet and stepped buttresses to W; C18 enlargements embraced it to N and S, creating broad 3-window W front. 2-light belfry openings, 4-centred to top on W face; Perp style 3-light W window with label, inserted in 1884-5. The C18 work created the main body of the church while the fenestration of the 6-window side elevations relates to Matthew Wyatt's work; Italianate 2-light windows - round-headed to gallery and camber-headed below; the N side includes one full height window. Similar windows also to the apse. S side has pedimented porch to the westernmost bay with Doric columns, round-arched doorway with keystone and fine lamp bracket; panelled double doors. Low vestry range to N side added in 1905 (in poor condition at time of inspection - Spring 1990); depressed ogee arch doorway.

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Interior

The 'preaching-box' interior is rectangular and galleried; 4-bay nave, with full height aisles, and apsidal chancel. The underpinned late-medieval tower arch has sunk wave moulding detail as do the continuously moulded 3-order arch openings to either side. Masonry corbelled to SW corner for vice stairs with low chamfered arch doorway. Raked galleries carried on low cylindrical stone piers with moulded capitals - these are reused from the late medieval church. Panelled gallery front and C18 tapered columns above; the easternmost bays of the gallery on both sides were removed during the 1884-5 work. Plain ceiling with modillion bracket cornice to nave and simpler moulded cornice to aisles. Semicircular coffered chancel arch with dentil cornice to imposts and pilasters with egg and dart capitals; frescoed spandrels of trumpeting angels; similar detail to apse. Panelled dado behind alter and frieze of copies of Italian Renaissance paintings. Ionic pilasters flank E end windows.
Low chancel screen, pulpit and font all added in 1884-5; War Memorial stained glass in the aspe by Clayton and Bell. Classical inner porch. Monuments include one to vestry inscribed T M 1658 with coat of arms and one by Flaxman (1805) to Paul Panton in Grecian manner; many other C18 and C19 monuments. C13(?) headless effigy of a priest (discovered during the rebuilding in 1769 and now at W end). Former box-pews reused for panelling around walls.

Reasons for Listing

Graded II* for its medieval origins and assocations with St Winefride's Chapel and Well (Grade I)

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