St James Church

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St James Church
Address Kirklands Lane
Postcode BD17 6HH
Built 1892, 1905 & 2007
Built by Harrisons's of Cononley. 2007.
Grade II list No. 1314288
St James 2008 Post Move.jpg
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St James's Church is the white timber church on Kirklands Lane, just off Otley Road.


This painted tongue and groove timber church, which is now a Grade II listed building, was originally built in Great Warley, Essex in 1892. It was then moved to Baildon in 1905. The Revd N R Bailey, rector of Great Warley, had property in Baildon and hoped to retire here. However his obituary was published in Nov 1900 before he retired. I don't know how that then resulted in the church being moved.

To allow the church to raise money so it could continue it was moved approx 30 metres and the land around it sold for development. The move allowed new timbers to be used and much improved insulation. It also involved the installation of ground source heating powered by 6 deep boreholes to make it eco-friendly.[1]


These photos of St James church are presented in chronological order.

St James. 2003. Inc hut.

This was taken in September 2003 and shows the church in its original Baildon position. It also shows the timber hut in the grounds that was used by various groups associated with the church.

St James. 2007. Early sages of move.

This shows the very early stages of the move on 4 June 2007. The church is still in its original location and the site is being prepared.

St James. 2007. Stripped of cladding

This shows the church stripped of its cladding. Taken 26 July 2007.

St James. Dec 2007. Partly rebuilt.

This shows the rebuild in progress. Taken 23 Dec 2007.

St James. June 2008.

The move is now complete and the garden landscaped. Taken 16 June 2008.

St James. Roy Lorraine_Smith drawing 2008.

This is a drawing from 2008 by Roy Lorraine-Smith that is used in the Kirklands Walk Heritage Trail and The Turnpike Walk Heritage Trail

Report on St.James's Church July 2007

This is the text of a report presented to Baildon Neighbourhood Forum 19 July 2007 by Joan Edbury, Church Warden.

Following approval of the St. James's project by the diocesan registrar in the summer of 2006, the land was put on the market by Dacre, Son and Hartley. The firm Hudson's of Pudsey tendered the highest bid and were given the contract to build 10 houses on the site.

The firm Harrisons's of Cononley have been given the contract to renovate the church, which entails taking it down piece by piece and rebuilding it 30 metres to the west. Special cedar wood is being used to replace rotten timbers, heat pumps under the ground will provide eco-friendly energy for heat and light. A meeting room, new kitchen and toilets will be built adjoining the church, and inside the church will be restored with new flooring, lights, storage space, furniture and art hanging. Around the outside a Biblical garden has been planned which will have plants mentioned in both Old and New testaments. It is hoped people will find it a restful place to be.

The church will have a multi-purpose use. There will be the usual services, plus some modern innovations, and a space for toddlers, cubs, brownies, the art group, the Tai Chi group, whist drives and other activities. For example, there could be a drop-in coffee shop and a mid-week luncheon club.

The work will take about 8 months and we hope to be back by January 2008. It will provide an attractive social centre for all the community.

Meanwhile the present congregation has been given the use of a room at Denso Marston's for Sunday Eucharist and Hoyle Court School will be used for services on Sun.9 Sep. Sun.7 Oct. (Harvest) and Sun 2 Dec. ( Toy service).

We appreciate the generosity of both Marston's and Hoyle Court School during the renovations.

Listed Building Description. Grade II

Church. Mid-late C19 re-erected on present site c1905. Timber-framed with weatherboarding, pantile roof. Nave and chancel continuously roofed, north transceptal chapel, south porch, short belfry tower to west end. 5 bays articulated by buttresses, which are continuation of principal rafters of A-frame, with quatrefoils set in angle with wall. Simple gabled transcept and porch. Lateral windows are square-headed and plain. East and west windows are of 4 lights with traceried heads. Tower has 3 quatrefoils in belfry with pyramidal roof. Gable cross. Interior: Single-vessel. 6 internal bays with collar trusses. That at junction with chancel is arch-braced. Simple chancel screen with curved spandrels to uprights infilled with quatrefoils. Chancel roof is boarded. Small transceptal chapel with boarded roof. 3 windows with diamond panes and coloured glass. Originally erected at Great Warley in Essex; it was given, together with land for the site, by the Trustees of the late Rev. H. R. Bailey, sometime Rector of Warley. Prominent in the landscape.

Gt Warley Church, Essex

The following information is taken from web pages associated with Gt Warley, Essex with information related to St James Church, Baildon.

Extract from The Essex Society for Archaeology and History website

The following text has been extracted from the The Essex Society for Archaeology and History Winter 2004 Newsletter that can be found here - webpage. The second paragraph mentions the building of the timber church in Great Warley with seating for 140. Permission to publish this has been granted by Michael Leach (Hon Secretary, Essex Society for Archaeology and History) (2 June 2008)


On 17 July, members were introduced to Great Warley with an informative introduction to the history of the village by Peter Proud, churchwarden. The original church and manor house were at the southern end of this long thin parish. Both before and after the Conquest, the manor was in the hands of the abbess of Barking and remained so until the dissolution. On the suicide of a subsequent lay owner, and the manor was divided between his daughters. John Evelyn acquired the manor in 1649 but, apart from attending a few manorial courts, he had no involvement in the village. From 1741, Warley Common became an important site for the militia camp. Dr Johnson attended as an observer in 1778 and was impressed by the musket firing. Later that year, George III attended and his stay with Lord Petre at Thorndon necessitated the employment of 60 upholsterers. In 1806 permanent barracks were built on the Common where there was also a racecourse. Soon after the arrival of the railway at Brentwood in 1840, 116 acres of Warley Common was sold for housing development and in 1855 additional land was sold for the construction of the Essex Lunatic Asylum. The railway also brought new owners and new wealth to Warley. Edward Ind (son of the founder of Romford Brewery) built Coombe Lodge in 1866. Evelyn Heseltine (died 1930) built a large new house for himself in the village in 1876 (later converted into a hotel) and at the same time Frederic Willmott bought and enlarged Warley Place. His daughter Ellen was to become one of the most famous plantswomen in the country.

In 1892, the parish church was still at the far southern end of the parish, inconveniently sited for most parishioners, many of whom to go in the Brentwood direction to the new church of St Michael, Warley, built in 1855. The rector of Great Warley decided to address this problem by constructing, at his own expense, a substantial wooden church behind the rectory with seating for 140. This proved popular but on his death this privately owned church was bequeathed to the parish of Baildon in Yorkshire, where it is still in use. This move did not suit the parishioners of Great Warley who had become accustomed to the convenience of a church in the village, and Evelyn Heseltine put up £5000 for a new church and rectory, in memory of his brother Arnold (died 1897). The architect chosen was Charles Harrison Townsend (1852-1928), already noted for his Art Nouveau designs of the Bishopsgate Institute, the Whitechapel Art Gallery and the Horniman Museum. A decade earlier he had refronted All Saint’s, Ennismore Gardens, South Kensington, working with Heywood Sumner (1853-1940), one of the leading designers of the Arts & Crafts movement.

Dedicated in 1904, the simple roughcast exterior of the church that Townsend designed at Great Warley belies the rich Art Nouveau detail within. He again collaborated with Heywood Sumner (who designed the stained glass in the apse) but also, more significantly, with William Reynolds-Stephens (1862-1943). Reynolds-Stephens’s training as an engineer led him to try out new techniques at Great Warley, such as the electroplating of the Christ figure, and the use of aluminium leaf pressed into plaster. Electric lighting was used from the outset, and the electroliers were made of galvanised iron embellished with enamel panels and glass beads. Other artists were involved too; Louis Davies designed the baptistery windows, and Reginald Hallward the chapel ceiling. All the interior fittings, even the pews and the wall panelling, were designed for the church and are a surprising and remarkable tribute to the innovative and under-appreciated talent of the time. Recent restoration has enabled much of the craftsmanship to be seen again in its original glory. Sadly much of the stained glass was lost due to bomb damage, and some of the post-war replacements now seem inappropriate. However it was very pleasing to see that one has recently been replaced to an original design. Those in charge of looking after this church are to be congratulated for their energy and enthusiasm in preserving and enhancing such an unusual building.

After tea, a small group went to Warley Place to look at the remains of Ellen Willmott’s house and garden, now managed by the Essex Wildlife Trust as a nature reserve. Many unusual features of the garden, and its plants, have survived.

Michael Leach

Gt Warley Church, Essex

This is the text from a page on the website of Sheila and Edwin Macadam here that dates from approx. 2004. It has been archived here. See the section headed Interim Church

The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Warley, Essex was built on land given to the parish by Evelyn Heseltine. His great grandfather's brother was my great great great grandfather.

In fact, Evelyn Heseltine went a great deal further than that, by providing the capital necessary for the work to be carried out, to the tune of somewhat over £5,000 - a sum probably in excess of £2.75 million by today's (2004) standards.

The Old Church

The original church of St Mary in Great Warley was sited much further south than its replacement; across the A 127, at the end of Church Lane, and immediately south of Great Warley Hall. Only some of its gravestones now remain, the tower having stood until sometime prior to 1973.

Descriptions of the church[2] prior to 1730 are sparse, but the first Rector is recorded as John le Norreis in 1247, no doubt appointed by the Abbess of Barking into whose Abbey the ownership of the Manor of Warley passed. The village was then called Warley Abbess.

In the time of Henry VIII, in 1548, Protestants who had gained the upper hand against the Catholics went about selling church property, the latten candlesticks at Great Warley being no exception. However, it is also recorded that the income from the sale, some 29s. 2d., was expended on repairs to the fabric of the church. A record from 1681 states that the arms of the Commonwealth were still visible on the walls of the church.

Some time before 1730 the tower of the church was struck by lightning and destroyed; it was replaced by a shingled and capped wooden structure constructed upon the old foundations. It then contained three bells. Framed copies of the Ten Commandments, the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer were hung in the church in 1744, and those, together with the King’s Arms, were still in place in 1810.

Repairs to the church walls and the tower were carried out in 1803, and in 1833 a west gallery was constructed at the behest of Mrs Robinson, the then Rector’s wife, a north gallery already being in place. The lack of additional seating in the church continued to present a problem, and in 1851 the church was reported as "totally inadequate"[3] for the needs of a growing parish.[4] As a result of this, Sarah Clay, the Rector’s sister-in-law, gave £1,000 to endow a new church, this being Christ Church, Warley. This was also built with a west gallery, removed only in 1956, when its door was replaced by a window.[5]

Old age and nature took its course, for in 1858 the chancel collapsed.[6] Thus, during the period 1858-60 the church was remodelled, the design being entrusted to the architect Samuel Sanders Teulon. The chancel was rebuilt in yellow brick with stone dressings, the north vestry added, and the west tower was reconstructed in red brick, all at a total cost of £1,000.[7]

Remodelled is of course a euphemism for the stripping of the original fittings and furniture and the removal of the old quire which no doubt had resided in the west gallery so thoughtfully provided by Mrs Robinson – possibly also in the north gallery which pre-dated it. Having said that, although the original high-sided box pews and possibly a three-decker pulpit was removed along with the west gallery, a new west gallery[8] was built at the west end of the church, the photograph at the back of the present church showing an external staircase leading to it against the south wall of the tower.[9]

Copy of an old Photograph on the west wall of the new St Mary's Church, Great Warley, showing the external staircase to the musicians' gallery which was at the westr end of the old St Mary's Church. A similar picture can be found in Andrew Barham's excellent book Lost Parish Churches of Essex.

As the village centre moved to the higher ground, where it lies today, the old church started to fall into further disrepair.

Although attempts were made to obtain a faculty for the remodelling of the tower, removal of the nave and re-building the chancel (presumably to replace the demolished nave and thereby make a smaller chapel) funding from the patrons of the living, St John's College, Cambridge, was turned down and the scheme faltered. By 1923 the old church had recently been pulled down, but the tower was still standing in 1953, although, as stated above, it had fallen by 1975.[10]

The Interim Church

As a result, Rector Bailey built a wooden church in the grounds of his home "Fairsteads", and the old church ceased to be used for services other than funerals. This ‘mission’ church seated some 140 people when first licensed for use in 1892. This lasted until the new church was built in 1902-04, and on his death, the temporary church was bequeathed by him to the parish of Baildon in Yorkshire. It was taken down and re-erected there.

Pictures of the interim church in its new home in Baildon, Yorkshire.

The book, Baildon Memories by Lucy L Gill, (published by MTD Rigg Publications, 1A Renton Avenue, Guiseley, Leeds) says that the church, St James', was brought to Baildon in 1905 from Great Warley, Essex.

The Rev'd N R Bailey, rector of Great Warley, had property in Baildon and hoped to retire there. However his obituary was published in Nov 1900 before he retired. It is part of the Baildon Parish, which I believe is one of the largest in the country and has 3 parish churches in addition to the Moravian, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches.

The church is in the space between Otley Road, Kirklands Lane and Hoyle Court Rd in Baildon, as can be seen on this map at:

pictures and information courtesy of Paul Marfell and the Marfell Site

The New Church

The New Church

The new church is thought by many to be the foremost example of the Art Nouveau or ‘Arts & Crafts’ style, and is one of only three in existence today. Listed as an historical building with Grade 1 status, and with its Lychgate as Grade 2 listed status, it is the best preserved of the three, even though it suffered bomb damage during World War II when all the most important windows were blown out, and suffered serious vandalism in the 1970s. Evelyn Heseltine, who by the turn of the century had been resident in Great Warley for some 25 years, and had purchased a small house called Goldings[11] which he had enlarged substantially during the 1880s, donated both the site for the new church and some £5,000 for its building. The design and furnishing were under the control of the architect, Charles Harrison Townsend, and the sculptor and interior designer, William Reynolds-Stephens, (who was subsequently knighted and became President of the Royal British Society of Sculptors), both of whom had the experience and flair to reproduce faithfully the then very modern and contemporary Art Nouveau style for the interior.

The consecration of the new church was carried out on 1st June 1904 by the Lord Bishop of St. Albans, following which it was constituted as the Parish Church by an Instrument of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners and duly published in the London Gazette dated August 14th 1904.

Since then the church has been damaged in a number of ways: on the night of 21st September 1940 a bomb fell some 25 yards to the north-west of the church, causing great damage to the stained-glass windows, the ceiling of the organ-chamber and the church doors. These have been slowly replaced over the years, war damage compensation only partially covering the cost of repair. In November 1972 a bout of particularly vicious vandalism caused considerable damage (but not nearly so badly as at the neighbouring church of Childerditch), and in June 1975 the stained-glass windows at St Mary's were again attacked on three separate occasions. All this has had to be repaired.[12]


When the church was dedicated in 1904, a commemorative booklet explained the theme of the design as follows:[13]

The primary object of Mr Reynolds-Stephens in his designs has been to lead the thoughts of the worshippers onward through his decorations to the glorified and risen Christ, whose form in the centre of the reredos is to be the keystone of the whole scheme.

In that he has certainly succeeded, and one’s attention is automatically and constantly drawn back to the triptych which stands above the altar, at the focal point of the apsidal sanctuary. Constructed from a variety of materials – bronze, silver gilt, ormolu, enamel, mother-of-pearl and marble – in the centre panel Christ stands on the coiled serpent and with right hand raised in the great blessing “My peace I give to you”, which is inscribed underneath.

In the rounded arch in which Christ stands, the keystone is inscribed ‘IHS’ – Jesus Hominum Salvator – and the four Evangelists are denoted by their Biblical signs. In the ormolo panels on either side are depicted the Nativity and the Entombment. These panels, together with the central figure of Christ are themselves in the form of a cross, and the panels are supported on triple-stemmed rose trees in bronze, with mother of pearl roses, the whole being framed in marble. The vault of the apse over the Sanctuary is finished in aluminium leaf, with a Vine rising in four places from a central branch which runs round the cornice depicting seraphs. The fruit is picked out in red.

Materials used for the interior are a mixture of various metals, marbles, and mother of pearl, together with the walnut furniture. There is much evidence all around of the Art and Craft movement and of the influence of the pre-Raphaelites. Indeed, locally, it is popularly known as the "Pearl Church", because of the widely used mother of pearl decoration. Such is the decoration and the attention to detail wherever you look, that it is almost impossible to do the furnishings justice by verbal description. The rood screen and the organ case are just two of the many details which cause the visitor to stand and stare.

Read about the West Gallery Music associated with the old church at Great Warley and the local composer, John Arnold here.


  1. Overton Archtects
  2. Much of this information is loosely rewritten from information in Victoria County History, Essex, Volume 6. In turn, this has been gleaned from the following sources: E.R.O., D/P 195/1/2 (cuttings and illustrations), 195/5, 195/8/1-3; T/P 195/2; History of Great Warley, 9-10; Thorne, Environs Lond. 678; photo in St Mary the Virgin Church, Great Warley.
  3. H.O. 129/7/197.
  4. Population figures: 1801, 430; rose during the period to 1821, but in 1831 was recorded as 424; 1841, 596; 1851, 952. The nearby barracks, built in 1805, were reopened in 1843 and the married quarters were situated in Great Warley parish.
  5. E.R.O. D/CF 95/119. It sounds as if there was also an external stair here to gain access to the gallery.
  6. E.R.O. D/AEM 1/5
  7. Ibid. 2/9.
  8. or was it in fact that the previous one was not demolished?
  9. Church Bells of Essex, 439.
  10. History of Great Warley, 19; cf. Kelley’s Directory for Essex (1914, 1926, 1933); RCHM Essex, iv. 61.
  11. E.R.O. Sale Catalogue B5742.
  12. Church Guide: The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Great Warley, Essex; A Digest of Church and Village History 1247-1975 by H R Wilkins [probably 1975].
  13. Ibid. From the Notes and Illustrations by A W Wellings, ARCA, in the same Guide.