Biddenham – St James

Biddenham - St James

The church of St James, Biddenham is situated at the end of Church Lane in Biddenham providing a tranquil repose for this church. The church is of a standard form with nave, chancel, north and south aisles, south porch and west tower.

Patron saint: St James

Web Site: St James Biddenham

Reference - Pamphlet: St. James's Church Biddenham, available from the church


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Biddenham - St James. View from the south-east.

The south aisle is shorter than the north with the porch added to the east end of the south aisle. The south aisle and porch combined make the three elements of the south aisle, nave and north aisle almost the same length. The original portion of the church, the nave was built in the C12 or possibly C11 and there is some indication that the original chancel dated from this period. The lower portion to the tower was added in the C13 with the chancel rebuilt in its present form in C14. The aisles were added in C15 (south) and C16 (north) with the tower being completed in C15. The Vestry to the north of the tower is a modern addition in matching stonework.

Biddenham, St James. South porch.
Biddenham, St James. South aisle, south window.
Biddenham, St James. Tower, blocked doorway.

The south aisle is of a single bay with an embattled parapet. The porch has a room above which is accessed from the western end of the south aisle inside. The inner door of the porch is a plain Norman arch from the C12.

Under the tower on the south side there is a small blocked doorway and inside, but not visible from the outside is a blocked C13 lancet.

Biddenham, St James. Tower gargoyle.

Around the tower are several carved gargoyles.

Biddenham, St James. Tower gargoyle.
Biddenham, St James. Tower gargoyle.
Biddenham, St James. Tower gargoyle.
Biddenham, St James. North aisle, blocked doorway.

The outside of the north aisle has a spiral stairway leading up to the roof above the vestry behind which is the original north door, now blocked doorway.

The archway of the door is in two forms, an inner four-centred arch with an outer square arch.

Biddenham, St James. North aisle, east window.
Biddenham, St James. East window.

The chancel, as with all of the church has a modern roof. There are two windows to the south and one to the north as well as the main east window of three lights.

Between the south windows is a small plain Priest’s door dating from the C14.

Biddenham, St James. Chancel, south window and priest's door.

Inside, the chancel arch is a restored Norman arch with two squints allowing views through to the altar from the side aisles.

In the Chancel, the most striking memorial is a Jacobean wall monument to the Boteler family, the most important family in the life of Biddenham for over two hundred years. To the side of the altar is the Piscina.

Biddenham, St James. Chancel arch.

Biddenham, St James. Squint from chancel into south aisle.
Biddenham, St James. Piscina.
Biddenham, St James. Carving.
Biddenham, St James. East window, internal.
Biddenham - St James. Jacobean south aisle screen.

The south aisle is now separated from the nave by a Jacobean screen which used to be in the North aisle until 1939.

Biddenham - St James. South aisle, west end internal.

The stained glass in the east window of the chapel commemorates St Michael and St Barnabas.

As mentioned earlier, the west end of the south aisle conceals a staircase up to the room above the porch sometimes known as a Parvis.

Biddenham - St James. Stained glass.

Biddenham - St James. Stained glass.

The north aisle has an impressive modern stained glass window dating from 1960 and there is more modern glass in the west window dating from the millennium celebrations.

Biddenham - St James. Stained glass.