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Monument details

HER Number:TR 14 SW 107
Type of record:Listed Building


Grade I listed building. Main construction periods 1066 to 1877. Parish church constructed during the late 11th century or 12th century with 13th and 14th century additions. A restoration took place in 1877. The church is constructed of flint and stone with a plain tile roof. Plan of chancel with north and south chapels, aisled nave, south porch and west tower.

Grid Reference:TR 11658 44934
Map Sheet:TR14SW

Monument Types

  • CHURCH (Medieval to Modern - 1066 AD to 2050 AD)
Protected Status:Listed Building (I) 1241752: CHURCH OF ST JAMES

Full description

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Description from record TR 14 SW 15:
[TR 11654493] St. James's Church [NAT]. (1)

The Church of St. James, Elmsted, has a 13th century tower and nave, the remainder being 15th/16th century. (2)

St. James the Great (nameplate): in normal use. (3)

Listed Grade I. (4)

Additional bibliography. (5)

The earliest structural evidence are the thick walls at the west end of the nave (and fragment of the north-east corner of the nave), which are perhaps late 11th/early 12th century (no features to date this closely). In the 12th century a north-south arch was put into the west end of the nave to make an oblong (in plan), base for a tower. Sometime later (late 12th century) unusual pointed arches were erected internally on the north and south sides of the tower space at just below eaves height to act as the base of a stone tower. This allowed a less oblong tower to be built with tiled shoulders on lean-to roofs north and south. The tower first stage has small-block Caenstone quoins and lancet windows at the higher level (the lancet on the north has been removed later and the space blocked). There is also a slightly larger lancet window in the west wall of the church above the west door. North and south aisles may first have been added in the 12th century - the only surviving evidence for this is the small-block quoining at the east end of the nave north arcade. There is also a fine octagonal 12th century Purbeck marble font. The walls at the east end of the chancel were built in the 13th century (no doubt a lengthening of the original chancel) - only the piscina in the south-east corner gives evidence for this. Early in the 14th century a north-east chapel was added with a fine 3-light east window (there is also a Y-tracery window on the north). On the south side of the nave at the west end, there is also an early 14th century 2-light window (the external tracery has been totally restored). Sometime later, the north and south arcades to the nave were totally rebuilt with large blocks of Kentish rag, also the chancel arch. At the west end of the south aisle is a two-light early perpendicular window, and the south porch appears originally to have been erected in the 14th century with fine tabular flint outside (the crown-post roof over it is perhaps 15th century). There is a mass-dial on the south-west corner.

Various new works were carried out in the later 15th century. First a highly unusual timber-framed upper stage (belfry) was built on top of the tower with an integral spire above. To make this timber-framed upper stage square in plan, it was jettied out east and west, using a large central tie-beam as its principal support. The tower arch (underneath an earlier 12th century arch) may have been added at this time or, more likely, earlier. Various new late perpendicular windows were also added at this time (north aisle: north and west windows, chancel: east window, and south aisle: south window) and a new crown-post roof was built over the south aisle. A will of 1475 (Test. Cant., 116) documents the making of `new seats called Pews' in `that space from the place where St Christopher is painted to the corner of the stone wall on the north side of the church' (probably the north aisle). At about the same time the south-east chapel (dedicated to St John the Baptist) was rebuilt with new windows and a plinth around the outside (there seems to have been an earlier 14th century chapel here - money for the repair is given in a will of 1473. Another will of 1486 by John Ede, vicar who was buried in the chancel before the figure of St James (Test. Cant. 115) leaves money to the glazing of `two bays in the new Chancel of St John the Baptist'. This chapel later became the Honeywood chapel (with a vault beneath it and a 19th century vault outside the south wall). Another will of 1500 gives money `to the building of a vestry in the church' (Test. Cant. 116). This must refer to the vestry, still in use, at the west end of the north aisle. The timber partition, with a moulded and crenellated beam at the top which divides off the vestry, is reused perhaps from an earlier domestic building. The final major architectural change to the building came in the early 16th century when two new arcades were put in, with four-centred arches, on the north and south sides of the chancel. The supports to the chancel arch were perhaps also built at this time (they have Tudor rose decoration on them, and fine carved heads), and the projecting brackets are presumably for the (now destroyed) roof beam. There are similar responds into the south chapel from the west. At the east end of the south arcade, just below the capital, is an inscription below a carved angel (head destroyed) which commemorates Christopher Gay and his two wives, Agnes and Joan. Their leger slab, with only one of the brass female figures surviving (the indent of Gay himself in the centre, and of his other wife are still clear) is on the floor at the east end of the south chapel. His will of 1507 (Test. Cant.,115) records that he wanted to be buried here - his family owned Evington Court and later sold it to the Honeywoods (Hasted VIII, 37). c. 1507 must therefore be the date of the chancel arcades. (The eastern buttresses supporting these arcades have been rebuilt fairly recently.)

The only major post-Reformation changes to the fabric are the large south-west angle-buttress to the tower in red brick (17th century) and the blocking of the north doorway. The altar rails are early 18th century. A major restoration was undertaken in 1877 (date on waterpipe heads) when the nave and north aisle roofs were replaced as well as some of the window tracery and the doors into the west dormer. At the same time the Honeywoods restored `their' chapel and put a new flat roof on the chapel, surrounded by an embattled parapet. (The steep-pitched roof was reinstated in c. 1960.) The large 3-light late perpendicular window in the south-wall was also totally renewed at this time. A 17th century pulpit survives, but all the old box pews were removed in 1877 and replaced by pitched-pine ones. In the 1960s the aisle pews were removed, leaving only those in the nave. At this time also, a large graveslab (found in the churchyard during levelling in 1956) was reused as an altar slab in the Honeywood chapel. (6)
Formerly TR 14 NW 15

The following text is from the original listed building designation:

3/100 Church of St. James 29.12.66
Parish Church. Late Cll or C12, C13 and C14, restored in 1877. Flint with stone dressings. Plain tile roofs. West tower, nave with north and south aisles, south porch, chancel with north and south chapels. West tower: C13, with late Cll or C12 base: Medieval belfry. Single stage, but north and south sides reduce in width about half way up with plain-tile shoulders. Large stone north-west and south-west quoins to lower half. Diagonal south-west buttress. Shingled timber- framed belfry jettied to west. Splay-footed octagonal spire. Two louvred three-light trefoil-headed windows to each face of belfry. No tower windows to north or east. Broadly-pointed plain-chamfered lancet towards top of west face, and another to south. Taller plain- chamfered lancet West window. Plain-chamfered pointed-arched west doorway. Nave: south elevation: continuous with south wall of tower base. C19 traceried three-light window. South aisle: C14 possibly with late Cll or early C12 origins. Narrow and gabled, stopping short of west end nave. Plinthless. Buttress towards east end. C14 or early C15 pointed west window of two cinquefoil-headed lights, with tracery of vertical bars, and hoodmould. One straight-headed C15 or C16 south window to east of porch, with two cinquefoil-headed lights and rectangular hoodmould. South porch: medieval, restored in C19. Coursed knapped flint. Gabled plain-tile roof. Window with cambered head, to each side. Crown-post roof; two outer crown posts plain. Broadly-chamfered rectangular central crown post with broach stops and head braces. Chamfered tie-beams. Pointed-arched plain-chamfered inner doorway with broach stops. Unchamfered pointed-arched outer doorway. South chancel chapel: early C14. Continuous with south aisle, but with chamfered stone plinth and lower eaves and ridge. East end flush with chancel. Diagonal south-east buttress. Large straight-headed south window with three cinquefoil-headed lights and moulded hoodmould. Similar two- light east window. Chancel: C13, probably with late Cll or C12 origins. Slightly narrower than nave. No plinth. Two buttresses. C15 or C16 untraceried east window with cambered head, three cinquefoil-headed lights, and hoodmould. North chancel chapel: early C14. Flush with east end of chancel. Plinthless. Diagonal north-east buttress. C14 pointed-arched east window with three cinquefoil-headed lights, tracery of cusped intersecting glazing bars with trefoils and quatrefoils, and with hoodmould. Pointed- arched C14 north window with Y tracery and trefoil, without hoodmould. North aisle: C14. More stone mixed with flint. Continuous with north chancel chapel, and slightly overlapping tower. Plinthless. One untraceried C15 or C16 north window, with cambered head, three cinquefoil-headed lights, and hoodmould. Straight-headed west window with two cinquefoil-headed lights and hoodmould. Small blocked plain-chamfered pointed-arched north doorway. Rainwater heads dated 1877. Interior: Structure: two-bay early C14 south arcade to nave, with doubly plain-chamfered pointed arches and octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases. Two-bay C14 north arcade, similar to south arcade, but extending further to west and with more intricately-moulded capitals. East end of south arcade rests on late Cll or C12 pier of large ashlar blocks on plain-chamfered plinth, and with top heavily corbelled to south side. Footings for further structure to east and south. Small, probably pre-C14, stone quoins to east pier of north arcade, capped by single block from which arch springs. Doubly plain-chamfered pointed early C14 chancel arch, springing from moulded rectangular capitals which break forwards unusually. Plain-chamfered piers with broach stops. Two-bay early C16 north and south arcades to chancel, with doubly hollow-chamfered four-centred arches and octagonal columns with moulded capitals and bases. Early C14 pointed arch between south chancel chapel and south aisle, with plain-chamfered inner order and slightly ovolo-moulded outer order. Moulded rectangular capitals slightly different from chancel-arch capitals, but similarly breaking forwards under inner order of arch, each on image corbel. Piers slightly hollow chamfered, with cushion stops to base and undercut trefoil to tops. Doubly plain-chamfered pointed arch between north chancel chapel and north aisle, springing from chamfered imposts which break forwards to centre with rounded corbel under. Low, pointed C14 tower arch, with plain-chamfered inner order springing from moulded semi-octagonal piers, and hollow-chamfered outer order descending to ground with cushion and broach stops. Above arch, exposed voussoirs of taller, broader, blocked, round-headed late Cll or C12 tower arch. Roof: C19 crown-post roof to nave and north aisle. Chancel and north chancel chapel roofs boarded in five cants. Plastered barrel vault to south chancel chapel. Medieval crown-post roof to south, with three cambered plain-chamfered tie-beams, with moulded octagonal crown posts, sous-laces and ashlar pieces. Fittings: piscina in rectangular recess towards east end of south chancel chapel. C13 piscina in moulded recess with trefoiled head and moulded hoodmould, towards east end of south wall of chancel. Image corbel to north wall of north chancel chapel. Late Cll or C12 font, low, deep, octagonal, with two panels of blind arcading to each side, circular central pier and eight slender perimeter columns. Small C17 altar table. Hexagonal C17 pulpit with sunk moulded panels, strapwork, fleur-de-lys frieze, and enriched cornice. Medieval screen, probably of domestic origin, with close-studded partition under moulded and brattished beam, across west end of north aisle. Laudian altar rails with turned balusters. Monuments: Cartouche on south wall of south chancel chapel, to Sir William Honeywood, d. 1748. Monument on same wall, to Thomas Honeywood, d. 1622; grey-painted chalk in form of triptych. Central section has moulded and pulvinated base, scrolled base-plate and shield, and raised and moulded inscription panel in eared surround, flanked by Composite columns. Above it, a recessed panel with inverted scrolls, and triangular pediment with cherubs head and achievements. Recessed flanking sections, each carved with angel in husked surround, and with scrolled base plate and corniced pediment with shields. Tablet on same wall, to Mary Honeywood, d. 1708, lettered on a shroud with gilded fringe, cherubs' heads, and shield surmounted by urn. Brass of a lady, part of a brass to Christopher Gay, d. 1507. Monument on north wall of north chancel chapel, to William Honeywood, d. 1669. Black marble inscription panel in a frame which breaks forwards twice. Each back panel eared, the outer with inverted scrolls to base and festoon to return sides. Festooned rectangular panel flanked by acanthus consoles and with scrolled acanthus base plate under inscription panel. Moulded cornice over oak-leaf frieze, breaking forwards three times. Segmental pediment with achievements over central break. Monument by Thomas Scheemakers on same wall, to Sir John Honeywood, d. 1781. White marble. Rectangular inscription panel, flanked by reeded pilasters which curve out at top to form consoles under flower paterae. Shaped base plate, also with inscription. Moulded cornice surmounted by -sarcophagus with bust above it, against grey marble obelisk back plate. (J. Jewman, Buildings of England Series, North-east and East Kent, 1983 edn.)
Listing NGR: TR1178645546 (7)

<1> OS 6" 1961 (OS Card Reference). SKE48369.

<2> MHLG (2074/11/A Sep 1960) 15 (OS Card Reference). SKE47006.

<3> F1 CRW 23.4.63 (OS Card Reference). SKE42856.

<4> Wardale, C., 1963, Field report for monument TR 14 SW 15 - April, 1963 (Unpublished document). SKE5457.

<5> DNH Listing 17-Oct-1988 (OS Card Reference). SKE39786.

<6> Diocese of Canterbury (Tim Tatton-Brown), 1990, Church Survey - St James' Church, Elmsted. (Unpublished document). SKE7598.

<7> 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: OS 6" 1961.
<2>OS Card Reference: MHLG (2074/11/A Sep 1960) 15.
<3>OS Card Reference: F1 CRW 23.4.63.
<4>Unpublished document: Wardale, C.. 1963. Field report for monument TR 14 SW 15 - April, 1963.
<5>OS Card Reference: DNH Listing 17-Oct-1988.
<6>Unpublished document: Diocese of Canterbury (Tim Tatton-Brown). 1990. Church Survey - St James' Church, Elmsted..
<7>XYMap: English Heritage. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. [Mapped feature: #32330 Church, ]