Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of CHAPEL OF ST JAMES THE GREAT
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Tewkesbury (District Authority)
Stoke Orchard
National Grid Reference:
SO 91773 28201



7/112 Chapel of St James the Great (formerly listed as 4.7.60 Church of St Peter)


Chapel-of-ease formerly attached to Bishops Cleeve. Nave probably built c1170. Chancel C14. Nave north wall mixed dressed limestone and limestone rubble with rendering towards the west end where wall is on a different alignment. West end and south wall rendered. Most of south wall rendered except a small area of coursed squared and dressed limestone. Chancel coursed squared and dressed limestone and blue lias, north and south walls partly rendered. East end probably rebuilt C19. Stone slate roof. Nave north wall with C14 buttressing. C19 plank door with decorative early strap hinges with animal head decoration with a roll-moulded C12 round- headed surround. Single small C12 round-headed window to right. Buttress to left of door with similar round-headed window to left. Single round-headed window at centre of west end. Nave south wall with C14 buttress towards chancel. Two narrow C12 round-headed windows as in north wall flanking nave south door. Two-light double-chamfered stone-mullioned casements with rectangular leaded panes towards the west end. Early studded plank door within a rectangular flat-chamfered surround with a plain tympanum and a hollow-moulded hood and curving stop. Chancel north wall. One 2- light stone-mullioned casement with one C14 two-light stone- mullioned casement. Cusped head and carved spandrels to each light. Pointed Perpendicular east window with a quatrefoil. All windows with diamond leaded panes. Single C14 light with cusped head in north wall. C14 bellcote with single bell hanging at east end of nave. Stepped coping at east end of nave and at east end of chancel. Flat coping and roll cross saddle at west end of nave. Church interior; plastered. Nave, 4 bays (varying in width). Plastered coved ceiling to nave dated and initialled 'I.E. 1723' towards west end. Plastered pointed ceiling to chancel. Red brick floor to chancel. Stone flags to nave. C13 pointed, double- chamfered chancel arch on plain engaged semi-circular C12 responds with scalloped capitals. Semi-circular headed piscina reputed to be C12 in south wall of chancel. Trefoil-headed probably C14 piscina in south wall of nave. Fixtures and fittings; fine C12 circular limestone font with intersecting blind arcading in relief towards the west end of the nave. Heavy-pegged, possibly C18 oak pews. C17 octagonal pulpit with incised scrollwork. C19 carved wooden lectern. C18 communion rail with simple turned balusters. C17 carved oak chest with lozenge decoration set in front of north door. Simple possibly C17 wooden altar table with turned legs. Wall paintings of five different periods around walls of nave. The most important scheme is the earliest, comprising a cycle of 28 scenes representing the life of St. James of Compostella in a fragmentary condition and dating from between c1190-1220 (restored in preference to other wall paintings 1953-5). The cycle runs around the nave at window height and has wide decorative borders at the top and bottom. The lower border is decorated with a running foliate motif incorporating stylized animals with ribbon-like bodies. Border at top similar to the lower border but includes interlace. These motifs are related to the Herefordshire School of sculpture, (best illustrated at Kilpeck) which derives from a wide variety of sources. The later phases of wall painting comprise; a small probably C15 diaper of fleur-de-lys in a yellow-red over the upper part of the chancel arch. Drapery on the south wall just west of the 2-light window probably represents a large C15 figure standing against a stencil-painted brocade diaper. Further to the west are two very large crudely drawn feet, probably the remnants of a C15 representation of St Christopher. The fragmentary remains of a C16 black letter text in a classical frame survives west of the 2-light window on the nave south wall. During the C17 all the windows were given decorative borders comprising trellis interlace and guilloche patterns fragments of which still survive. The crowned rose over the north door also dates from this period. During the C18 an extensive series of texts in a variety of frames were painted on the north, east and south walls of the nave including the text with the oval rayed frame on the south wall. In addition the Royal Arms over the chancel arch was updated with Hanoverian heraldry. Figures of Death and Time were on the west wall (now largely removed to reveal the St. James cycle) also date from this period. The cycle of the life of St James of Compostella is the only one in England. (Clive Rouse and Audrey Baker, Wall Paintings in Stoke Orchard Church, Gloucestershire; Archaeological Journal CXXIII, 1966; and David Verey, The Buildings of England, The Vale and the Forest of Dean, 1980)

Listing NGR: SO9177328202


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
Rouse, , Baker, , Wall Paintings in Stoke Orchard Church Gloucestershire
Verey, D , The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire 2 The Vale and The Forest of Dean, (1970)
'Archaeological Journal' in Archaeological Journal, , Vol. 123, (1966)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 09 Apr 2002
Reference: IOE01/06810/10
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Peter Harnwell. Source Historic England Archive
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