815/16/492 OCLE PYCHARD
09-JUN-67 CHURCH OF ST JAMES THE GREAT
Parish church of C14, with tower probably of the early C19; restoration and addition of spire 1869-72 by William Chick.
MATERIALS: Coursed local sandstone rubble with freestone dressings, tile roof incorporating bands of fishscale tiles.
PLAN: Rectangular plan of nave and chancel under a single roof, south porch, and west tower projecting partly inside the nave, north vestry and organ chamber.
EXTERIOR: The nave and chancel are in Decorated style, but the walls are clearly of three phases, separated by vertical joints. The earliest section is the eastern part of the nave, which has 2 pairs of cusped windows, while the later section of the nave has a pair of cusped ogee-headed windows. The pointed nave south doorway has a continuous plain quadrant moulding, and the door has long strap hinges. It is inside a simple porch with timber-framed entrance. The pointed west doorway is placed within a tall arch of the projecting tower. The 3-stage tower has narrow straight-headed windows in second and third stages, below which is a low continuous band of timber-frame bell openings below the copper splay-foot spire. The chancel is also later than the eastern section of the nave. It has a 3-light Perpendicular east window and 2 pairs of cusped south windows and pointed priest¿s doorway. On its north side a parallel vestry has a cusped east window. The organ chamber behind it is set at right angles. The continuous roof, embellished with ornamental tile work, is a striking feature.
INTERIOR: Walls were stripped of plaster in 1869, exposing the stonework. The tower base is the exception, of freestone that was always exposed, and with pointed tower arch dying into the imposts. The simple pointed chancel arch, by contrast, was originally plastered. To its left is a former rood-loft doorway. In the chancel is a cusped piscina. Trussed rafter roofs are of 1869, as are the floors, which are laid with tiles except for raised wood floors below the choir stalls.
PRINCIPAL FIXTURES: There are 2 fonts. The earlier, brought back into use in 1939, is plain octagonal, of uncertain date. The newer is late C19, has a round bowl with inscription around the rim, and a stem with attached shafts, but is part dismantled. The polygonal pulpit of 1886, on a stone base, has openwork tracery and foliage cornice. Pitch-pine pews are of 1869, and the choir stalls (possibly re-used) have Gothic arcaded fronts. The east window shows Christ with SS James the Less and James the Great. In the south window is the unusual scene of Melchizedek King of Salem. At the west end are commandment boards and a benefaction board.
HISTORY: Of the medieval church the nave and chancel, with its C14 piscina, have survived. The nave was later extended westwards, possibly as late as the C18. A tower was built that looks to be of early-C19 date, to which a timber spirelet was added in 1872, which was covered by copper in 1922. The spirelet was part of the thorough repair and restoration of the church in 1869-72 by William Chick, architect of Hereford, from which period are the present windows, the pews, and stained glass in the east window.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Herefordshire, 1963, p 264.
Guide to the parish church of St James the Great, Ocle Pychard, 2007.
Information from Alan Brooks.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
The church of St James, Ocle Pychard, is listed Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* For its overall configuration, with its unusually lengthy roof and its western tower.
* For the survival of its medieval fabric in the nave, chancel and vestry, with interior detail including simple chancel arch, rood-loft doorway, and piscina.
* It has interior fixtures of interest, including the earlier of the 2 fonts and the stained-glass windows.