Cradley: St James The Great, WR13 5LH
For St James the Great, Cradley, see www.Cradleychurch.org.uk
The Church is open daily to visitors from 8 am to 5 pm (7 pm British Summer Time), and free self-service tea and coffee facilities are always available. Everyone is welcome at our services; for the less mobile there is step-free access from the south door to the altar rail, and a wheelchair is available on request.
St James' Church has been a place of Christian worship for many centuries. An early entry of Cradley as 'Credelale,' in Domesday Book in 1086 ('Creoda's clearing'), mentions a priest with half a hide (60 acres) of land, although no church is specifically indicated. Even before the Norman Conquest, Hereford and Worcester existed as fortified Saxon towns with Bishops' seats; Leominster had a Saxon nunnery, and Saxon churches were established at Deerhurst, near Tewkesbury; near Bromyard, and also in Shropshire. It is quite possible, therefore, that a church existed here in Cradley before the Normans came, though there is no concrete evidence of this. It has been suggested that the carved Saxon stone on the outside north wall of the tower, could have been part of a 'becun' or monument which missionaries would erect to indicate a Christian meeting place, before a church was built. The theory that the unusual structure of the inside of the lower tower, with its beams and plaster, are part of an earlier church, is interesting, but is considered by experts to be unlikely.
Clear evidence, however, of a Norman church can be seen in the well-preserved south doorway with its chevron decoration and also in the lower part of the tower. The upper part of the tower is later and dates from the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century, with windows of that period, with trefoiled lights and vertical tracery. The tower is finished externally with an embattled parapet. The columns of the archway between the nave and the tower probably date from the late twelfth century. The arch of the small doorway at the rear of the tower, in the south corner, appears to be made from the two halves of an old octagonal font.
A less formal Communion Service, said with hymns.
Benefice "gathered service"
When there is a fifth Sunday in the month we usually hold a joint service with the other churches in the benefice which could vary in timing and format. It could be in Cradley, Mathon or Storridge, and the time of the service may vary. For further details please see the "One-off events" section of this site, or our web site www.cradleychurch.org.uk
Informal service for all the family, with music led by Jimmy's Band.
Informal worship, usually lay-led
A sung service, with music led by our choir.
Informal all-age service with music led by Jimmy's Band.
Evening Prayer (BCP)
Said service. Held most Mondays, see pew sheet or www.cradleychurch.org.uk/services.htm
(Note: changes to 4.30 pm during the winter)
Holy Communion (CW)