St James The Great

​Old Milverton, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Our Altar Cloths

Our most recent frontal, in green (pictured above), was commissioned in 2011 by the Cadbury family and dedicated to Rebecca and Terry. Our old pale green damask frontal with gold cross was commissioned in 1980 for St James centenary and was embroidered by Diana Griffith, Nancy Sharp, Copper Brett-Powell and Dorothy Trevaskis. Green frontals are used at 'ordinary' times of the year.

The purple frontal is used during Lent, Advent and on Ash Wednesday. Ours was created using a variety of fabrics, including linen, gold lurex ribbon and dupion silk, in 1960 embroidered by Diana Griffith, Nancy Sharp, Kate Love, Jean Taket, Margaret Gutteridge and Katrina Collins.

​Crimson frontals are used on Palm Sunday, Whitsunday, Maunday Thursday, All Souls Day and Pentecost. Ours has a dramatic central gold leather Greek patee cross, appliquéd with crimson and metallic gilt cord. Completed in 1986 using red chain stitch by Nancy Sharp, Dorothy Trevaskis and Copper Brett-Powell. 

The white frontal is used for Christmas Day, Epiphany and Eastertide. In the late 1920's the parish magazine on the time makes reference to purchasing materials for a new frontal at a cost of £11 4s 6d. The Womens Institute were thanked for their 'generous offerings'. Our beautiful cream damask frontal was completed in 1926 and restored in 1980. The letters and cross are embroidered in apricot pearl cotton in Goblelin stitch, all raised and padded.

Our Church Turret Clock

The clock is manufactured by JB Joyce and Co, the oldest firm of tower clock makers in the world who can trace their history back to 1690, when William Joyce began manufacturing grandfather clocks in the North Shropshire village of Cockshutt. The clock is of a flat frame design based upon a cast iron frame through which steel shafts pass carrying the winding drums. The bearings and gear train are bronze. The escapement is a pin and wheel mounted directly on to the pendulum. The clock weight is driven. Chiming uses the tenor church bell. The clock is mounted on the east facing aspect of the tower. The face is made up open double rings in black steel joined by minute segments in gold coloured painted metal. 

The business was handed down from father to son and in 1834 Thomas Joyce began making large clocks for the local churches and public buildings. In 1849 the company were instrumental in manufacturing a double three-legged gravity escapement, after the design of Lord Grimthorpe, and this was later used in the Great Clock of the Palace of Westminster, better known as Big Ben. This invention has revolutionised the timekeeping of large public clocks and has been hailed as the greatest invention since the pendulum.

The company made clocks for some of the principal railway companies both in the UK and in the Commonwealth. Since 1945 the company have installed over 2000 large public clocks in Britain and Ireland.

In 1964 Norman Joyce, the last member of the Joyce family, retired and sold the company to Smith of Derby and it continued to operate until 20102 when it finally closed.

Above the alter. At the top of the window is a cinquefoil showing the Holy Ghost as a dove. It is surrounded by five angels, one of which holds a scroll which says 'Holy Holy Holy'. Either side are two small trefoils containing angels holding scrolls which say 'The Good Shepherd giveth His life for His Sheep'. The large left hand window shows St James the Great holding his staff. The scroll around him says 'Humble your lives in the sight of the Lord and He shall lift you up'. Beneath this window another panel depicts the calling of James and John, showing them on their boat and Christ on the shore. The central window shows Jesus surrounded by his flock of sheep with a shepherds crook, and above his head the scroll reads 'I am the Good Shepherd'. Beneath this the panel shows the transfiguration. Surrounding Jesus are Moses holding his tablets, Elias, Peter and another apostle. The right hand windows shows St John. He is holding a chalice containing a serpent whilst his other hand is raised in blessing. The scroll above him reads 'And the Lord was made flesh and liveth amongst us'. A golden eagle stands at his feet and below him a scroll reads 'St John the Evangelist'. Below this is a panel showing the martyrdom of St James which shows him kneeling before his executioner with a sword. 

Our Stained Glass Windows

St James the Great is a mid-Victorian adaptation of an Early English church. The building, today, only dates back to the nineteenth century although it has been a place of worship for nearly nine hundred years.

Geoffrey de Clinton granted Leek Wootton Church to the priory he had founded at Kenilworth in 1122 and the chapel of Milverton was considered to be included in the grant. From 1232 Milverton church belonged to the Canons Regular of St. Augustine of Kenilworth. When Kenilworth Abbey’s days were finally over in April 1539, the three centuries old connection with Milverton was finally severed.

Existing records began in 1742 and the names of the men, women and children who lived in the parish from this date are to be found in the register of baptisms, marriages and burials. At least one of the time-worn stones in the churchyard is of an earlier date. Before the start of the nineteenth century, the Headmaster of Warwick School became the perpetual curate of Milverton.

The building became a cause of anxiety to the churchwardens as the upper part of the tower had given way, it had been replaced by a wooden structure and a clumsy buttress had been added to keep the north wall from falling down. Six hundred years of wind and weather had left their mark on the masonry. Restoration was carried out in 1878, funded by Lady Charles Bertie of Guys Cliffe. Nothing was left of the old fabric except the foundations and lower portion of the tower. Designs for the re-build were drawn up by John Gibson, an eminent architect who had been associated in his younger days with Sir Charles Barry. Rebuilding was carried out by G. F. Smith of Rugby Road, New Milverton, Leamington Spa and was completed in the summer of 1880. There was a service for the re-opening of the church on the 28th August 1880.

The new church of 1880 featured the unusual pyramidical roof of the tower and the archading around the upper storey. The walls are of sandstone from a local quarry and the quoins and tracings are of Hollington stone.

The installation of a glazed screen inside the south porch celebrated the Millennium. Financed by voluntary donations, the screen was dedicated in April 2001. The engraved scallop shell design (St. James’ emblem) is a reminder of the scallop shells worn by pilgrims in the Middle Ages as a sign of their pilgrimage to see St. James’ relics at Compostela in Spain.

Our Church

Simeon and Anna. The window was created by Messrs Burlisson and Grylls of London. It is dedicated from Lady Bertie Percy in memory of Lord Charles Bertie Percy. The window also bears a brass plaque which says 'To the glory of God and in remembrance of Croxton and Elizabeth Johnson, interred in the adjoining churchyard May 1880.

Faith and Hope. Faith carries a cross and shield and her section of the window has the inscription 'Watch ye stand fast in faith'. Hope holds an anchor and his inscription reads ' Rejoice in the hope of the glory of God'. The window was created by Messrs Powell and Sons. The inscriptions beneath read 'To the glory of God and in loving remembrance of Algernon William Percy' and 'Victoria Frederica Caroline Percy. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord'. A plaque beneath reads 'To the glory of God and in loving memory of Algernon Malcolm Arthur Percy, born 2nd October 1851. Died 28th December 1933. Light sown for the righteous and gladness for the upright in heart'.

Our Lord and Nicodemus. The inscription at the bottom of the window reads 'For now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face'. The window was created by Messrs Barnard and Westlake of London. It was from Mrs Grubbins in memory of her husband Samuel.

​The Healing of the Sick. The window on the left is of Luke, who holds a staff with white ribbon and a fleam. Above his head it says 'Do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry'. Beneath his feet it says 'Luke the physician whose praise is in the Gospel'. The right hand window depicts John holding a book. The words above his head say 'He that loveth not knoweth not God for God is love'. Beneath his feet it says 'The disciple whom Jesus loved'. This window was made by Ward and Hughes of London. The plaque beneath reads 'To the glory of God, in loving memory of Henry Jephson, M.D. of Beech Lawn, Leamington. This window is offered by three of his nieces Eliza Jephson, Mary Halton Stewart, Anne Buxton Geldart.

Faith and Hope. Faith holds a tall staff with a cross at the top and has an inscription below that reads 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord'. Hope rests her hands on an anchor. Beneath her an inscription reads 'Bleesed are the pure in heart'.At the bottom of the widows read 'To the Glory of God and in loving remembrance of Warner Brooks of Woodland Grange Blakedown' and 'Margaret Ellen Brooks wife of Richard this window is etched by her husband'.

The Annunciation. The window on the left shows an angel with inscription saying 'Hail, thou that art highly favoured'. The right hand window shows Mary, resting on a pedestal. The pedestal depicts Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Below Mary the script reads ' Behold the handmaid of the Lord'. The window was made by Burlison and Grylls of London. The window is dedicated to Thomas Sedan and Hannah Maria Scholes and a  brass plaque below the window reads 'To the glory of God and in memory of their father and mother the above window is erected by Eleanor Molyneux and Edith Mary Scholes'.

Abraham's Steward with Rebbekah. This window features an acanthus design round the border. The thorny leaves represent pain, sin and punishment. However being a perennial it came to symbolise immortality and resurrection in the sense that life is cyclical, and is often displayed at funerals. The plaque beneath reads 'To the glory of God and in memory of William Squires and Samuel, his son, successively stewards of Guy's Cliffe. This window is placed by Anne Caroline Bertie Percy'. 

Relief of the Afflicted. The angel at the top of the window holds a scroll which says 'Praise ye the Lord'. Beneath, the Lord reaches out to a family of three who are making an offering in return. The inscriptions on these windows is slightly faded but read 'To the Glory of God and in affectionate remembrance of the late ... This window was presented by his daughter Elizabeth ...'  and 'Rev. George Innes MA 30 years perpetual Curate of this parish, wife of George Harris FSA painted after a design by him 1880'.

​The interior is beautifully proportioned and assumes a quiet dignity and includes open roof timbers, the local workmanship of the oak pews, the red and black tiles on the floor, many mural tablets and varied and wonderful windows depicting religious scenes.

The chancel aisle is screened off to form a clergy vestry and an organ chamber.

The organ was given in 1936 in memory of Mr. Henry Field, a churchwarden for 33 years. The electric organ blower together with the chancel light are dedicated in loving memory of Margaret Alexina Wentworth Field widow of Henry Field. The gift of her loving children and grandchild. April 1951.

The many memorials featured within the building celebrate significant contributions from families of the parish including Doctor Henry Jephson, the celebrated Leamington physician.

The handsome brass eagle lectern is another memorial to Doctor Henry Jephson.

The first vicar to occupy the new vicarage was the Rev. Montague Mercer Pope MA (Oxon). He held the living for about thirty-five years. Since then we have had over thirty vicars.

Here is a link to our Parish Profile​

​​​​Our Church Bells

In 2011 the bells at St James were un-ringable and had been so for a number of years. In 2013 it would be 150 years since two of our bells were cast and we thought it would be timely if by 2013 we could restore the bells so that they could be rung again. The tower contains a ring of three bells:-

Treble     John Warner, London                     1863    3½cwt  26.00"     
2nd        John Warner, London                     1863    4½cwt  28.00"
Tenor     William Chamberlain, London         c1440    6cwt    31.375​​

The tenor bell is of particular interest, not only for its extreme age, over 550 years old, but it was cast under the name of the then master founder William Chamberlain at what continues today as the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, probably the most famous bell foundry in the world. The restored bells with their new headstocks returned on Thursday 24th October 2013 and reinstallation began. By Thursday 31st October the bells and Ellacombe hammers were installed, together with the new ropes and pulleys.Then on November 5th the clock hour striker was reinstalled, the bells commissioned (opening notes of Three Blind Mice are rung) and the bells formally handed back to St James. 

The first service for which the bells rang again was the Remembrance Sunday service on November 10th 2013.

Our Reredos

Our beautiful carved oak reredos with painted panels shows a scene of the Lamentation over Christ which preceded the Burial. It shows the dead Christ with his mother Mary the Virgin, St John and St Mary Magdalene, with a praying angel on each side. The frame includes Tudor roses and lilies. The rose symbolises the Virgin Mary and the rose and lily symbolise Israel, as written in the Zohar.