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Description: Church of St James
Date Listed: 10 May 1974
English Heritage Building ID: 201431
OS Grid Reference: TQ2858789459
OS Grid Coordinates: 528587, 189459
Latitude/Longitude: 51.5893, -0.1452
800/21/162 MUSWELL HILL ROAD N10
10-MAY-74 MUSWELL HILL
CHURCH OF ST JAMES
(Formerly listed as:
MUSWELL HILL ROAD N10
CHURCH OF ST JAMES (UNITED REFORMED))
1900-2 and steeple 1909-10 by J S Alder. Attached church hall by Caroe and Partners, 1994-5.
MATERIALS: Rock-faced, coursed limestone. Artificial stone for the hall. Slate roofs.
PLAN: Nave, chancel, N and S aisles, SW porch, NW steeple, N transept and chapel, S vestry and organ chamber, church hall etc attached to S.
(The church is orientated SE so all directions given here are liturgical).
EXTERIOR: A large and imposing church built in Gothic Revival style using both Decorated and Perpendicular architecture. The landmark feature is the large, tall NW steeple with 14th-century details and which draws upon the medieval great steeples of, for example, Lincolnshire. The tower is of five storeys of very unequal heights: it has set-back buttresses which rise to the parapets. The short ground stage has a N arched entrance which leads to the base of the tower which serves as a porch. The belfry stage has very tall paired, louvred two-light openings on each face. Above is an embattled parapet with octagonal pinnacles at the corners. The spire has further, square pinnacles which rise from its base behind the tower pinnacles. The spire has ribs at the angles and one tier of lucarnes placed low down. The W front of the nave has a very large, recessed window of seven lights with a fusion of Perpendicular and Decorated tracery. Below it is a central arched doorway flanked by pairs of two-light windows. There is a large octagonal, embattled turret at the SW corner of the nave with a spirelet cap. The aisles are lean-tos and have five bays: the bays are divided by buttresses and most of the windows are wide four-light ones with Perpendicular tracery under four-centred heads. The clerestory has two windows per bay, each with two lights under a depressed head. A transept with a large four-light Perpendicular window leads off the W part of the chancel: to the E of this is a chancel under it's own gable. The E window, like the W one, is large, of seven lights and incorporates both Decorated and Perpendicular elements. The NE and SE corners of the chancel are canted in slightly. The hall has a glazed link to the church: its W front has a token Gothic Y-tracery window.
INTERIOR: The interior is light and spacious and has bare stone facing to the walls. There is minimal division between nave and chancel which are of equal width. The six bays of the nave have quatrefoil piers with rolls in the angles: they have clustered demi-octagonal capitals and bases and there are multiple mouldings in the heads of the arches. The main roof was a replacement by Caroe and Partners after the Second World War: the trusses are arch-braces and between them the ceiling is canted and divided into rectangular panels by ribs. Stone wall-shafts rise from the valleys of the arches to the base of the arch-braces.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: The stalls are good, panelled, restrained work typical of early 20th-century church furnishings. The bench seating has been removed out of the nave and the floor has been carpeted. Bench seating remains in the aisles and it too is simply detailed. There is a good organ case by Caroe and Partners on the S side of the chancel, divided into five compartments and decorated with discreet Gothic tracery. There are triple sedilia with substantial cusped, gabled and crocketed canopies. The floor of the sanctuary is of mosaic. The hexagonal font is unusually detailed, having a tall panel attached to it bearing a standing image of Christ. There are two World War I memorial windows by Morris and Co., each of two lights (altered after 1945). The second window from the W in the S aisle is signed AGG, 1937. Much glass was destroyed in the Second World War.
HISTORY: The first church was a modest white-brick affair of 1840-1 by S. Angell. The present church, in the words of Cherry and Pevsner, is `old-fashioned but accomplished.....of a size and dignity appropriate to the burgeoning suburb.' The architect, John Samuel Alder (1848-1919), was articled in 1867 to the Hereford and Malvern architects, Haddon Bros, and remained as an assistant till 1872 when he became as assistant to Frederick Preedy and then to Robert Curwen. He commenced independent practice in London in 1886. He developed quite a sizeable church architecture practice in which most of his work was in London with a little in the Home Counties.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North, 1999, pp 550-1.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church of St James is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It is of special interest as a large, late Gothic Revival church in the Decorated and Perpendicular styles and built in two phases. Although stylistically rather old-fashioned for its day, it is the generous scale and good proportions that make it an imposing building.
* It is well suited to its surroundings in burgeoning Edwardian Muswell Hill. The soaring NW steeple is a fine composition which forms an important landmark.
* The interior is light and spacious and typical of an ideal type during the last phase of the Gothic Revival.
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.