Brightlingsea: St James, Brightlingsea
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St James’ Church, which is set in the High Street in Brightlingsea, is open throughout the day and is the centre for the majority of both Sunday and weekday worship. In recent years more use has been made of the building for school services, performances and concerts as it is the largest venue in the town with seating both downstairs and in the galleries.
St James’ Church is a Victorian grade 2 listed building in a conservation area in the centre of Brightlingsea. By the 1830’s the main population of the town had established a thriving waterside community, a mile away from All Saints’ Church and there was a clear need for a new centre of worship. St James’ was consecrated by the Bishop of London in 1836 as a “Chapel of Ease”.
Built with Suffolk White bricks and topped with a roof of Welsh slate it was deemed to be cheaper to build than a similar sized chapel built in stone and provided a “larger accommodation at less expense”. The galleries were added in 1866 due to increasing numbers in the congregation. The church is of Early English character and its western elevation is picturesque with the tower and Victorian Jubilee town clock.
With an ever-increasing population a new church was planned for land behind St James’ and a fund was set up for this in 1905. However, following the 1914-18 war the need for a larger centre of worship diminished as the congregation dwindled and with the depression interest in the re-building scheme waned. The remaining funds were then directed towards the new chancel and vestries opened in 1958. When work began in 1957 it was discovered St James’ was built on the site of a pond and the extension foundations were laid at a depth of sixteen feet below ground level to ensure a firm base. The work was completed and consecrated on October 11th1958, 122 years to the day of the original consecration.
Though structurally in good order the interior has not been modernised or decorated for many years. For this reason an appeal has been launched by the Parochial Church Council to raise funds for modernisation and redecoration of the building to make it more accessible and to have provision for a variety of uses, whilst respecting its primary purpose as a place of worship. More details on the plans and appeal can be found via the links on our home page.
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41-43 High Street
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|St Jamesâ€™ Church is open for private prayer during daylight business hours.|
|www.backtochurch.com||St Jamesâ€™ Church Centre is located at the rear of St Jamesâ€™ Church. Vehicular access to the car park is via Richard Avenue.The centre is available for hire at reasonable rates for private functions such as wedding receptions and parties or for groups to meet (i.e. dance classes, social clubs etc.). For more details contact The Church Office in Victoria Place, Telephone 01206 302378 or email email@example.com|
The current editor is: Liz Lear