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St. James the Great, West Hanney, Berkshire


The church of St. James the Great is a fine cruciform building of stone, consisting of chancel, nave of five bays, south aisle and an embattled tower on the north side containing 7 bells and a clock: the chancel is poor and Late Perpendicular: the chancel arch Early English and very acute, with good corbel shafts; a blocked hagioscope and rood-loft stairs remain: the south transept is Early English, with a trefoiled piscina: the north transept, above which the tower rises, has a Transition Norman arch opening to the nave; its east window and piscina are Decorated and there is a curious old staircase to the belfry; the nave has five Decorated arches on the south side, the columns supporting these being of modern date: the south aisle is Decorated and has a richly panelled parapet: the lower part of the tower is Transition Norman, the upper portion Perpendicular and the bell frame is dated 1605: the north doorway is Norman and has an Early English porch, the south doorway Decorated: in the chancel is a brass, with effigy, and mutilated marginal inscription to John Seyes, rector, c. 1370; besides others to Humphrey Cheynie, of West Woodhay, with effigy in armour and 12 English verses, 1537; Sir Christopher Lytcot (knighted in 1591 by Henry IV. of Bourbon, king of France and Navarre), high sheriff of Berks, d. 1599; with effigies of himself in armour and his wives Jane (Essex) and Catherine (Grey); John Ayshcombe, of Lyford, gent. 1592, with figures of two wives, ten sons and four daughters; and Oliver Ayshcombe, gent. 1611, and his wife Martha (Yeate), four sons and two daughters: there are also marble monuments to John Ayshcombe, 1655, with arms; E. Scrogg, 1784; and H. Popham, 1752: in the south transept are brasses to Thomas Mellisborne, 1602, two wives and three daughters; in the nave is a tablet to Edw. Bowles, 1685, and his wife, Elizabeth Bowles, 1718, aged 124 years: there is a stained window in the south side of the chancel to the memory of Helen Macdougall, d. October 21st, 1881, and others erected by the Rev. James Macdougall M.A. vicar 1849-92: the pulpit dates from 1649: the church has been restored at a cost of about £2,300, and affords 290 sittings: in the church porch are two stone coffins, pinnacles and gargoyles, removed from the church at the restoration.

Church Records

The parish register dates from the year 1564.

The Phillimore transcript of Marriages at West Hanney 1564-1837, Berkshire is available to browse online.

St. James the Great
West Hanney

Denomination:Church of England