Stanford Bishop: St James, WR6 5TQ
Our parish’s entire population is 110. However, we are a lively congregation with ambitions to make an impact on our community.
Our congregation for regular services is small; but for candlelit Carols, and at Easter and Harvest, the church is fuller. A wide cross-section of the inhabitants – new families and incoming professionals as well as families that have lived here for many generations – form a joyful congregation.
Our regular annual social gatherings which include the Daffodil Lunch, the Big Breakfast and the Garden Fete are at the centre of community life. They all have high attendance, raise money, and are very enjoyable – but we need to inspire
new helpers. We love our church building, and we have worked hard to improve it: re-wiring, heating, flooring, plaster work, stone work, paint work, carpet and altar cloths. We have a children’s area and we recently completed a fitted kitchen, and much else besides. The churchyard is also part of our mission. You open the churchyard gate to a beautifully peaceful place, with a 360 degree view around the church over an agricultural landscape. The benches provide lovely spots for a five-minute rest amongst the carpet of snowdrops and daffodils, or for a period of longer reflection. We hope to create God’s Acre alongside our nurturing churchyard, which contains one of the largest yew trees in the country. Visitors can sense these things. Some come on purpose to look for their ancestors, or to enjoy our 12th-century building; others just stumbled on us when rambling along the many public footpaths.
The church stands in a circular churchyard commanding marvellous views of the surrounding countryside. The building is late Norman and Early English with a squat tower, which opens into the church through a late 12th century arch. The south door is a little earlier and has a round arched doorway of uncertain age.
Inside the decoration is plain and simple, but has recently been re-decorated throughout and a kitchen facility installed. There is a Jacobean pulpit and a Norman sandstone font. However the item of most interest is St Augustine's Chair, believed to have been used by Augustine in the early 7th century when he met the British bishops of the Celtic church.