St James' Church, Altham

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St James' Church, Altham
St James' Church, Altham.jpg
St James' Church, Altham, from the southwest
St James' Church, Altham is located in the Borough of Hyndburn
St James' Church, Altham
St James' Church, Altham
Location in Hyndburn
Coordinates: 53°47′37″N 2°20′53″W / 53.7936°N 2.3480°W / 53.7936; -2.3480
OS grid reference SD 772,331
Location Altham, Lancashire
Country England
Denomination Anglican
Website St James, Altham
Status Parish church
Functional status Active
Heritage designation Grade II*
Designated 17 December 1968
Architect(s) Thomas Hacking (1859 additions and alterations)
Paley and Austin (chapel rebuilt)
Architectural type Church
Style Gothic, Gothic Revival
Materials Sandstone, stone slate roofs
Parish Altham with Clayton le Moors
Deanery Accrington
Archdeaconry Blackburn
Diocese Blackburn
Province York
Vicar(s) Revd John Tranter
Churchwarden(s) Clifford Hallworth
Robert Barnes

St James' Church is in the village of Altham, Lancashire, England. It is an active Anglican parish church in the deanery of Accrington, the archdeaconry of Blackburn, and the diocese of Blackburn. Its benefice has been united with that of All Saints, Clayton-le-Moors.[1] The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building.[2]


The church was founded in 1140, and was dedicated to Saint Mary.[3] The earliest fabric in the present church dates from the 15th and 16th centuries. The tower was built in 1859, when the chancel was rebuilt; these and other alterations were made by Thomas Hacking.[4] In 1881 a chapel was rebuilt by the Lancaster architects Paley and Austin.[5]



St James' Church is constructed in sandstone rubble, and has a stone slate roof. Its plan consists of a three-bay nave, north and south aisles, a south porch, a two-bay chancel, and a west tower. The tower is short and is in three stages; its architectural style is Perpendicular. It has an arched west doorway with a two-light window above it, two-light bell openings, and a battlemented parapet. All the windows on the sides of the church are round-headed with three lights. The south porch is gabled, and incorporates part of a Norman font in one of its side benches.[2] In 2008 the Norman font was removed from the south porch and is displayed inside the church. The design of the font, comprising eight vertical pallisters, hidden since 1512, but now revealed, opens the suggestion that its origin may be Saxon.


Inside the church is a shallow west gallery.[4] The arcades are carried on octagonal piers and have round arches. In the north wall of the chancel is a late-medieval piscina. In its south wall is the re-sited tympanum of a Norman door. The octagonal font was given to the church by the abbot of Whalley Abbey, and contains panels carved with the Instruments of the Passion. The church contains four 19th-century hatchments, and memorial wall tablets dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.[2] It also box pews dating from 1859. There is a stained glass window in the southeast aisle dating from the middle of the 19th century by Hardman & Co. In the northeast aisle is a window by Shrigley and Hunt dating from the early 20th century.[4] The two-manual organ was built in about 1859 by John Laycock. It has been awarded a Historic Organ Certificate.[6]

External features[edit]

The churchyard contains the war graves of three British soldiers of World War I, and a Canadian seaman of World War II.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ St James, Altham, Church of England, retrieved 12 September 2011
  2. ^ a b c Historic England, "Church of St James, Altham (1072721)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 12 September 2011
  3. ^ St James, Altham, GENUKI, retrieved 12 September 2011
  4. ^ a b c Hartwell, Clare; Pevsner, Nikolaus (2009) [1969], Lancashire: North, The Buildings of England, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 85–86, ISBN 978-0-300-12667-9
  5. ^ Price, James (1998), Sharpe, Paley and Austin: A Lancaster Architectural Practice 1836–1942, Lancaster: Centre for North-West Regional Studies, p. 78, ISBN 1-86220-054-8
  6. ^ Lancashire, Altham, St. James (N03392), British Institute of Organ Studies, retrieved 12 September 2011
  7. ^ ALTHAM (ST. JAMES) CHURCHYARD, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, retrieved 12 February 2013