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Description: Chapel of St James the Great
Date Listed: 4 July 1960
English Heritage Building ID: 134520
OS Grid Reference: SO9177328201
OS Grid Coordinates: 391773, 228201
Latitude/Longitude: 51.9522, -2.1211
Explore more of the area around Stoke Orchard, Gloucestershire at Explore Britain.
SO 92 NW STOKE ORCHARD STOKE ORCHARD VILLAGE
7/112 Chapel of St James
the Great (formerly listed as
4.7.60 Church of St Peter)
Chapel-of-ease formerly attached to Bishops Cleeve. Nave probably
built c1170. Chancel C14. Nave north wall mixed dressed limestone
and limestone rubble with rendering towards the west end where wall
is on a different alignment. West end and south wall rendered.
Most of south wall rendered except a small area of coursed squared
and dressed limestone. Chancel coursed squared and dressed
limestone and blue lias, north and south walls partly rendered.
East end probably rebuilt C19. Stone slate roof. Nave north wall
with C14 buttressing. C19 plank door with decorative early strap
hinges with animal head decoration with a roll-moulded C12 round-
headed surround. Single small C12 round-headed window to right.
Buttress to left of door with similar round-headed window to left.
Single round-headed window at centre of west end. Nave south wall
with C14 buttress towards chancel. Two narrow C12 round-headed
windows as in north wall flanking nave south door. Two-light
double-chamfered stone-mullioned casements with rectangular leaded
panes towards the west end. Early studded plank door within a
rectangular flat-chamfered surround with a plain tympanum and a
hollow-moulded hood and curving stop. Chancel north wall. One 2-
light stone-mullioned casement with one C14 two-light stone-
mullioned casement. Cusped head and carved spandrels to each
light. Pointed Perpendicular east window with a quatrefoil. All
windows with diamond leaded panes. Single C14 light with cusped
head in north wall. C14 bellcote with single bell hanging at east
end of nave. Stepped coping at east end of nave and at east end of
chancel. Flat coping and roll cross saddle at west end of nave.
Church interior; plastered. Nave, 4 bays (varying in width).
Plastered coved ceiling to nave dated and initialled 'I.E. 1723'
towards west end. Plastered pointed ceiling to chancel. Red brick
floor to chancel. Stone flags to nave. C13 pointed, double-
chamfered chancel arch on plain engaged semi-circular C12 responds
with scalloped capitals. Semi-circular headed piscina reputed to
be C12 in south wall of chancel. Trefoil-headed probably C14
piscina in south wall of nave. Fixtures and fittings; fine C12
circular limestone font with intersecting blind arcading in relief
towards the west end of the nave. Heavy-pegged, possibly C18 oak
pews. C17 octagonal pulpit with incised scrollwork. C19 carved
wooden lectern. C18 communion rail with simple turned balusters.
C17 carved oak chest with lozenge decoration set in front of north
door. Simple possibly C17 wooden altar table with turned legs.
Wall paintings of five different periods around walls of nave. The
most important scheme is the earliest, comprising a cycle of 28
scenes representing the life of St. James of Compostella in a
fragmentary condition and dating from between c1190-1220 (restored
in preference to other wall paintings 1953-5). The cycle runs
around the nave at window height and has wide decorative borders at
the top and bottom. The lower border is decorated with a running
foliate motif incorporating stylized animals with ribbon-like
bodies. Border at top similar to the lower border but includes
interlace. These motifs are related to the Herefordshire School of
sculpture, (best illustrated at Kilpeck) which derives from a wide
variety of sources. The later phases of wall painting comprise; a
small probably C15 diaper of fleur-de-lys in a yellow-red over the
upper part of the chancel arch. Drapery on the south wall just
west of the 2-light window probably represents a large C15 figure
standing against a stencil-painted brocade diaper. Further to the
west are two very large crudely drawn feet, probably the remnants
of a C15 representation of St Christopher. The fragmentary remains
of a C16 black letter text in a classical frame survives west of
the 2-light window on the nave south wall. During the C17 all the
windows were given decorative borders comprising trellis interlace
and guilloche patterns fragments of which still survive. The
crowned rose over the north door also dates from this period.
During the C18 an extensive series of texts in a variety of frames
were painted on the north, east and south walls of the nave
including the text with the oval rayed frame on the south wall. In
addition the Royal Arms over the chancel arch was updated with
Hanoverian heraldry. Figures of Death and Time were on the west
wall (now largely removed to reveal the St. James cycle) also date
from this period. The cycle of the life of St James of Compostella
is the only one in England. (Clive Rouse and Audrey Baker, Wall
Paintings in Stoke Orchard Church, Gloucestershire; Archaeological
Journal CXXIII, 1966; and David Verey, The Buildings of England,
The Vale and the Forest of Dean, 1980)
Listing NGR: SO9177328202
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.