Parish Church of St James


Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: I

List Entry Number: 1119286

Date first listed: 11-Nov-1966

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Oct-2013

Statutory Address: Lewcombe, East Chelborough


Ordnance survey map of Parish Church of St James
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Statutory Address: Lewcombe, East Chelborough

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

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: East Chelborough

National Grid Reference: ST5589607557


A parish church, possibly incorporating part of a C12 core, rebuilt in the C16 and altered in the C18.

Reasons for Designation

The Church of St James in East Chelborough is listed at Grade I, for the following principal reasons: * Early date: the church is likely to include fabric of the C12, the building of which date its form clearly preserves; * Architectural interest: the building retains or replicates its Norman form in its continuous nave and chancel and narrow proportions; the simplicity of the structure is in contrast to the extraordinarily large, complex circular east window of C18 and possible C19 date, which forms a dramatic feature internally and externally; * Fittings: the church retains a good suite of C18 furnishings and panelling, complemented by C19 glass of good quality.


The church of St James stands in the far north-east of the parish now known as East Chelborough, close to a manor house which retains the original name of the village: Lewcombe. A church is recorded here in the C12, but it appears that the present church was largely or entirely rebuilt, no earlier than the early C16, though probably on the earlier footprint, given the simplicity of the plan. The north and south walls have windows of the late C16 or early C17, perhaps indicating the date of their rebuilding. During the early C18, the west wall was rebuilt or refaced, and the bell-turret was added in the same period, together with the furnishings.


A parish church, possibly incorporating part of a C12 core, rebuilt in the C16 and altered in the C18.

MATERIALS: the building is constructed of rubble-stone walls with ashlar dressings. The roof, which is covered in slate, has raised gable ends.

PLAN: the simple rectangular plan, orientated east-west, is a single undivided space, with no distinction between nave and chancel.

EXTERIOR: the building is a single storey high. In the north wall are two late-C16 windows, each of three, four-centred lights in a square head. The south wall has two similar windows, the eastern of two, and the western of three lights. Between them is the west jamb of a destroyed doorway, probably dating from the C16. The west wall has a square-headed C18 doorway with architrave and cornice, and a round window of the C18 above it. The large, circular east window dates from the C18, with cusped tracery forming a six-pointed star pattern, with daggers and trefoils, possibly added in the C19, though perhaps as early as the early C18.

INTERIOR: the interior is a single space, consisting of nave and chancel. The roof is a continuous, plastered segmental wagon roof with a wooden soffit rising from pilasters, to distinguish the nave from the chancel. The north, south and west windows all have deeply splayed openings. The east end houses the very large, circular east window; the wall has small-square panelling of the C18, built to respect the window opening, with moulded edges to the fields and a carved cornice with foliage and the heads of putti.

PRINCIPAL FITTINGS: the furnishings date from the C18. The FONT is stone, with a bulbous octagonal stem and bowl. The COMMUNION RAILS are wood with moulded balusters and rail. The building retains a full set of PEWS, of oak with plain ends with chamfered edges. The combined PULPIT and READING DESK are in one unit, and date from the C19. Stained GLASS in the west window commemorates Ann Bunch, who died in 1890. The stained GLASS in the east window, in memory of Charles Crew who died at sea in 1893, depicts angels in various attitudes, one figure in each of the small fields created by the complex cusped tracery, with brightly-coloured margins.


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

Legacy System number: 105751

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
Inventory of Dorset, (1952), 90
Pevsner, N, Newman, J, The Buildings of England: Dorset, (1972), 252
East Chelborough (Lewcombe), St James, accessed from

End of official listing