Monument record BSE 118 - Church of St James (Med)

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St James' Church built 1125 by Abbot Anselm as replacement for St Dennis's church (BSE 386). Cathedral since 1914.


Grid reference Centred TL 8560 6411 (80m by 42m)
Map sheet TL86SE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

St James' Church. 195ft long (in 1988), without a tower (separate Norman tower immediately S of church). Cathedral since 1914. Built by monastery (Abbot Anselm) as a parish church in 1125 to replace demolished church of St Dennis (see BSE 386), new chancel C15 (S3). C15 W front has engaged columns. Collection of medieval glass in SW nave window (S2). Essentially Perpendicular. Built chiefly c.1510-30, completed under Edward VI.
Chancel rebuilt by Scott in 1865-9.
Restorations C19 - ancient flat pitched nave roof gave place to present roof, western gable redesigned and built. Pier arcade remains - only old woodwork is C16 aisle roofs.
1958: Excavated Ralegh Radford C.A., (in area of new Quire behind St James Church; PSIA 28, 90; Med Arch 3, 305). Excavations revealed remains of an earlier chancel c1390-1402 and evidence for part of St Dennis's (S7).
Enlarged 1960-70, to plans by S E Dykes Bower (S1).
2001: During a period of stone replacement, conservation and cleaning. The West front was in construction from 1503 to 1550. A final phase of medieval work using salvaged Abbey stone to raise the aisle walls and parapets is suggested. There were major repairs in the mid 19th century, the gable being replaced when the roof was reconstructed (S6).

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <S1> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner N & Radcliffe E. 1974. The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Pevsner N, The Buildings of Suffolk, 1988.
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: Cautley H M. 1975. Suffolk Churches.
  • <S3> Bibliographic reference: Barker, H. R.. 1907. West Suffolk Illustrated.
  • <S4> Bibliographic reference: Dymond D and Martin E. 1999. An Historical Atlas of Suffolk (revised edition). Scarfe N, 'Domesday Churches, 1999, map 21.
  • <S5> Photograph: Air Photographs. NAU, TL 856 641, JDF 11-13, 1 July 1996.
  • <S6> Unpublished document: Carr R. 2001. Building Recording Report, St James' Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds, BSE 118.
  • <S7> Bibliographic reference: Margaret Statham. 1996. The Book of Bury St Edmunds. 2nd ed. p12-13.
  • <S8> Article in serial: Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History. PSIAH, 38 (3), 1995, p.349.

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Record last edited

Jul 17 2013 11:17AM

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