St James's Church, Tunbridge Wells  Church

Image Source: Rob Baker


Built to a design by Ewan Christian between 1860-63, St. James' was built a short distance away from the town centre in a suburb then known as Calverley Plain. The total cost of the build came to 6,000 with the spire amounting to 800. St. James' was built during a time of "Evangelical Awakening" and has always maintained a "Low Church" tradition. Christian's design was in the Gothic Revival style, with 13th century architectural designs throughout the building. The original design featured a large nave and apsed chancel, with a south aisle and small chapel. The church is entered through the south door of the tower which is situated at the south west corner. In 1880 the north aisle and organ chamber were added together with a north east vestry and an upper gallery along the west wall of the nave and north aisle. The lych gate dates from 1891 and was designed by C.M. Oldrid Scott. In 1983 a new Parish Hall was built alongside the north aisle, providing the church with extra meeting rooms and office facilities. The interior has retained its original benches. The red and blue coloured roofs of the aisles and nave date from a 1960s restoration. The simple wooden panelling behind the altar was added in 1971. Perhaps the most unusual feature of St. James' is the font, which can be found at the west end of the church underneath the gallery. It is a replica of Bertel Thorwaldsen's 1820s design that can be found in Copenhagen Cathedral in Denmark, featuring an angel holding a large shell or clam. It was made by the stonemasons Burslem and was presented to the church in 1914. The emblem of St. James is the shell, and therefore it seems somewhat fitting. Text by Rob Baker



Church Data


1851 Census Details


Seating Capacity: Not built

Morning Attendance: Not built

Afternoon Attendance: Not built

Evening Attendance: Not built


Architecture Details


Original Build Date/Architect: Ewan Christian 1860

Restoration: J O Scott 1883

Second Restoration:









Contact Details


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