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Monument details

HER Number:TQ 77 NE 1077
Type of record:Listed Building


Grade I listed building. Main construction periods 1200 to 1899 - A 13th to 15th century church with some 19th century restoration.

Grid Reference:TQ 75623 75949
Map Sheet:TQ77NE

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1200 AD to 2050 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (I) 1204117: CHURCH OF ST JAMES

Full description

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Description from record TQ 77 NE 2:
[TQ 75627595] St. James's Church [T.U.] (1) St. James's Church, Cooling, consists of nave, chancel west tower and south porch. The chancel is long, with six stalls on each side with stone canopies supported by detached shafts. The same hood mouldings extend over the canopies of the stalls, the sedilla and the piscina [an illustration shows that all these are 13th Cent.] The nave roof dates from the time of Edward III (2). The long chancel is temp. Edward I. The tower is Perpendicular (3). 13thC. in style but with 14th C. windows and a 15th C. tower. The north doorway is blocked. Still in use for public worship (4). Parish Church of St. James. Grade I. C13-C15 with some C19 restoration. (For full description see list) (5). Additional reference (not consulted) (6,7). Site photographs (8-12).

This feature is recorded in the English Heritage Historic Area Assessment for Cooling Parish. The report states:
"The parish church of St James dates mainly from the late 13th century and early 14th century but may well occupy the site of a Saxon building."
"Other changes affecting the village include..the Church of St James being declared redundant in 1976."
"The other significant historic survival is the parish church of St James (grade I). Described as a 'small but complete C14 ragstone church', it appears to have been built gradually between c 1280 and 1320. Its western tower was heightened and completed by the end of the 14th century. The building underwent restoration between 1882 and 1888, a probable date for the addition of a tiny vestry to the south of the chancel. Perhaps uniquely for an English Church, this is lined from floor to ceiling with thousands of cockle shells. Within the churchyard is a group of 13 body stones around a headstone, the grave of the Comport family, this is widely considered to be the grave described in the opening scene of Charles Dickens 'Great Expectations'. After the church was declared redundant, it and the churchyard were vested in the care of what is now The Churches Conservation Trust in 1978". (13)

The following text is from the original listed building designation:
COOLING CP TQ 77 NE 2/23 21.11.66 Church of St. James GV I
Parish church. C13-C15 with some C19 restoration. West tower, nave with south porch and chancel with south vestry. Ragstone, chalk and flint, somewhat repaired in sandstone. Plain tiled roofs. West tower with diagonal buttresses and with probably reset west window with cusped intersecting tracery. Nave windows of early C14 with cemented tracery. Chancel window-tracery of C15. Interior: 6-bay chancel, with 6 blank arches to north and south on marble shafts springing from marble benches. Arches run to triple sedilia and double piscina, with shafts and trefoils. South vestry with walls decorated with cockle-shells. Fittings: Font: C13. Square bowl on 5 squat piers with trefoiled arches sunk into each side. C18 pulpit. 6 oak benches with poppy-heads. Vested in the care of the Redundant Churches Fund. BOE, Kent, I, 238.
Listing NGR: TQ7636776264 (14)

HE archive material: BF051863 St James' Church, Cooling
VF000138 Hoo Peninsula Project Items in this file were created digitally and have not been printed.

<1> O.S. 6" 1940 (OS Card Reference). SKE47832.

<2> Arch. Cant. Vol. XI (1877) pp. lvi-lvii Illus. (Anon) (OS Card Reference). SKE37103.

<3> Kent 1915 p.121 (J.C. Cox) (OS Card Reference). SKE45666.

<4> F1 CFW 22-JAN-59 (OS Card Reference). SKE42703.

<5> DOE (HHR) City of Rochester upon Medway 1986 8 (OS Card Reference). SKE40174.

<6> Bldgs of Eng West Kent and the Weald 1980 238-39 (J Newman) (OS Card Reference). SKE38048.

<7> Field report for monument TQ 77 NE 2 - January, 1959 (Bibliographic reference). SKE4198.

<8> 1998, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11113.

<9> 1998, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11112.

<10> 1998, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11111.

<11> 1995, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11105.

<12> 1995, Photograph (Photograph (Print)). SWX11104.

<13> historic england, 2014, Hoo Peninsula Outline Historic Area Assessment: Cooling Parish. Research Report 51-2014. (Bibliographic reference). SKE31592.

<14> English Heritage, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest (Map). SKE16160.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>OS Card Reference: O.S. 6" 1940.
<2>OS Card Reference: Arch. Cant. Vol. XI (1877) pp. lvi-lvii Illus. (Anon).
<3>OS Card Reference: Kent 1915 p.121 (J.C. Cox).
<4>OS Card Reference: F1 CFW 22-JAN-59.
<5>OS Card Reference: DOE (HHR) City of Rochester upon Medway 1986 8.
<6>OS Card Reference: Bldgs of Eng West Kent and the Weald 1980 238-39 (J Newman).
<7>Bibliographic reference: Field report for monument TQ 77 NE 2 - January, 1959.
<8>Photograph (Print): 1998. Photograph. TQ7575/33. print.
<9>Photograph (Print): 1998. Photograph. TQ7575/32. print.
<10>Photograph (Print): 1998. Photograph. TQ7575/31. print.
<11>Photograph (Print): 1995. Photograph. TQ7575/26. print.
<12>Photograph (Print): 1995. Photograph. TQ7575/25. print.
<13>Bibliographic reference: historic england. 2014. Hoo Peninsula Outline Historic Area Assessment: Cooling Parish. Research Report 51-2014..
<14>XYMap: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. [Mapped feature: #29580 Listed building, ]