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

Parish boundary view Bird's eye view

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Reverend Anne Howson
Little Kings
41-43 High Street
(01206) 308039 (Priest-in-Charge)
No email contact is available, please try the diocesan web site
  • Regular Services
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Holy Communion
Regular Sunday Service
Every second third fourth fifth and last Sunday at 8:00 AM
Parish Eucharist
Regular Sunday service.
Every second third fourth fifth and last Sunday at 10:00 AM
Family Friendly Sunday School Refreshments
Family Eucharist and Parade
Sunday service on the first Sunday of each month.
Every first Sunday at 10:00 AM
Family Friendly Sunday School Refreshments
Evening Worship
Regular Sunday evening service held in rotation at various churches in Brightlingsea.
October to March.
Every fourth Sunday at 6:30 PM


Regular Wednesday morning service.
Every Wednesday at 10:00 AM
Brightlingsea Bears
Monthly "Time with God"ť for Pre-School (including babies) and their carers. Refreshments provided.
Every third Wednesday at 2:15 PM
Family Friendly Refreshments


Churches Together Brightlingsea Prayer Meeting
Regular Prayer Meeting
Every Thursday at 8:15 AM


Prayers for the sick
Regular Friday prayer time.
Every Friday at 10:30 AM


Coffee Morning
Weekly Saturday Coffee morning.
Every Saturday at 10:00 AM



Designated wider space(s) for people with a disabled parking badge
Stained Glass

Church Open St James’ Church is open for private prayer during daylight business hours. Hall for Hire St James’ Church Centre is located at the rear of St James’ 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
Other information
A Church Near You ID (venue number): 6210
Built: Consecrated 1836
Archdeaconry: COLCHESTER (583)
Deanery: St. OSYTH (58310)
Benefice: Brightlingsea (08/056 X)
Parish Legal Name: Brightlingsea (580593 )
CofE Church Info: (608594 8/594)
Short URL:
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The current editor is: Liz Lear

This page was last updated on Thursday 19th September 2013
Brightlingsea: St James : High Street, Brightlingsea, Essex, CO7 0AE - St James' Church can be found in the centre of Brightlingsea on the High Street.

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