Description of St James Church
St James’ Church, listed Grade 1, stands in a prominent position at the north end of this Cumbrian village and is built of local limestone rubble with sandstone dressings and slate roofs. It was built as a place of worship for the people who live in and around Burton, a village which is now home to about 1,500 people. The building comprises a recently restored magnificent twelfth century west tower housing 6 bells, a broad nave and chancel with a south and north aisle, south porch and north vestry.
The organ (built in 1850 by Holts of Bradford) was moved from the gallery to the vestry, enlarged and provided with a new oak case. After the Second World War an electric blower was added to commemorate those from the village who had been killed and a brass plaque on the organ commemorates this. The organ is maintained in good working order and is used regularly in services. The vestry also houses the safe and church records and it is used by those preparing for services. On its walls there is a photo gallery of previous vicars of the parish who oversee the continuation of Gospel ministry among the people of Burton!
Extensive church restorations of 1844 and 1872 included the rebuilding of the roof with a new clerestory and substantial rebuilding of the east end of the church including the vestry. A new east window was fitted in the chancel and the old east window was moved to the east wall of the vestry.
Urgent Work to the Vestry
Over the years repairs have been carried out to the vestry which have included the use of 20th Century cement pointing. This pointing has failed and the poor condition of the masonry walls and gables has led to water ingress which has caused the internal plaster to fail. Some areas of plaster have been removed to prevent dangerous falls. The urgent need is to restore the fabric of the vestry to prevent water ingress, and to repair the internal damage.
As shown in the three photographs above, cement pointing on the external walls, coping stones and chimney will be raked out back to sound mortar without disturbing stonework. All joints will then be re-pointed in hot-mixed lime mortar. Flashings will be resealed and roof slates, ridges, rainwater goods, etc will be checked and repaired as necessary. Friable stone will be removed from window surrounds, tracery and mullions and a pigmented shelter coat of hot-mixed lime applied to all window stonework.
All internal plaster will be removed and all walls will be re-plastered in 40mm thick lime-hemp plaster with final coat of finishing lime plaster. Walls will be decorated with breathable clay-based paint. Electrical and plumbing services will be removed from the walls to allow the re-plastering to take place and reinstated afterwards. Some other minor conservation work will be carried out inside the vestry as part of the repairs.
Funding the Repairs
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) have funded the initial work carried out by Crosby Granger Architects who have established the extent of repairs that are needed and drawn up a detailed work specification and drawings. The PCC will also contribute a further significant sum that has been set aside for building maintenance, but is seeking contributions from congregation members, the village community and the wider public. Contributions are also being sought from a number of grant making bodies.
St James’ Church is cherished by the congregation and the local community, is used regularly for services and by Burton Morewood Church of England school and, in normal times, is open two days a week to visitors. These repairs, which are expected to cost about £55,700, are part of an ongoing commitment to safeguard the church building for future generations and will minimise the need for further expensive repair work to the vestry for many years to come.
Can You Help?
Please consider making a gift to help us to carry out these essential repairs to the vestry as part of our commitment to safeguarding the church building for future generations. If you would like to make a gift please click on the "How to Give " button below.
Thank you very much,
Graham Burrows and the PCC of St James Church