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Church of St James, Portsmouth

Description: Church of St James

Grade: II
Date Listed: 11 October 2013
Building ID: 1412162

OS Grid Reference: SZ6650699843
OS Grid Coordinates: 466506, 99844
Latitude/Longitude: 50.7944, -1.0577

Locality: Portsmouth
County: Portsmouth
Postcode: PO4 8PD

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Listing Text


Anglican church. Built 1911-13 to the design of John Oldrid Scott & Son.

Reason for Listing

The Church of St James, Milton, Southsea, is listed for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: a well-composed and externally intact suburban church designed by J Oldrid Scott, a prominent architect of the late Gothic Revival;
* Interior: although subdivided, the interior remains spatially impressive. It is finished in high-quality brickwork, and retains many of its original fittings; also a fine window by the renowned architect and designer (Sir) Ninian Comper.


Until the early C20 Milton was a rural village on the south-east of Portsea Island. A church seating 349 people, designed in the neo-Norman style by AF Livesay, was built here in 1841, but this became too small for the rapidly expanding suburb of Portsmouth and was replaced by the present church in 1911-13. The new church, seating 864, stands to the east of the site of its predecessor.


MATERIALS: brown brick laid in English bond with red brick and stone dressings. The upper walls are faced in flint with chequerwork to the aisle parapets. Clay tile roofs to nave and chancel.

PLAN: the church is aligned north-south. Described liturgically, the plan comprises a tall nave with north and south aisles, originally of six bays; a north porch; a west narthex porch; chancel with a chapel on the north side and a smaller chapel to south with an organ chamber above. To the south and east of the sanctuary are vestries which served the choir and clergy respectively, each with a small porch. The three western bays of the nave and aisles have been divided from the remainder of the church by a full-height wall, and a floor and stair inserted to create a parish hall.
EXTERIOR: designed in the Decorated Gothic style with Perpendicular elements. The west elevation has a gabled porch with a four-centred arch and a niche with figure of St James, flanked by blind windows with ogee heads; tall paired windows and a round gable window with mouchette tracery. The nave and chancel windows have moulded brick pointed arches and cinquefoil headed lights. The aisles have three-light Perpendicular windows with ogee heads set in rectangular surrounds with dripmoulds; the north aisle and chapel have three-light east windows set in four-centred arches, and the north chapel pointed windows on the north side with reticulated tracery. There is a belfry on the north side of the nave gable. The doors have elaborate Arts-and-Crafts style hingework.

INTERIOR: the nave and chancel have wagon roofs, the latter boarded. Walls are faced in brown and contrasting red brick; those to the aisles are plastered. The nave and chancel arcades are carried on moulded stone columns and have moulded brick arches. The octagonal timber pulpit has traceried panels and lunettes. The tall chancel arch has a carved timber rood beam bearing the crucifix and figures of the Virgin Mary and St John. The arcades between the chancel and north and south chapels have timber screens with delicate Gothic tracery, and a panelled front to the organ chamber above the south chapel. Fittings to the chancel and sanctuary comprise choir benches and panelling with carved decoration and openwork trefoils, an arcaded timber communion rail and an altar. The east window has stained glass of 1933 depicting the Tree of Jesse, designed by (Sir) Ninian Comper. The north chapel has a small sanctuary with a stone arch carved with reliefs of sacred monograms and symbols, a small piscina, timber panelled altar, and stained glass of 1897 relocated from the preceding church, commemorating members of the Wyndham and Bamber families. The nave, aisles and chapels have timber benches with scrolled ends. The subdivided portion of the nave and aisles, now the church hall, retains no fittings. A metal stair (not of special interest) leads to the upper floor. Roofs are concealed by suspended ceilings.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.