St James, Birdham, West Sussex - 16th June 2008

I visited this church during a lunch break from work and was delighted to find the building open.  The nave is 14th century.

St James, Birdham, West Sussex - MTC

This church left me with rather mixed feelings - the modern furnishings and layout seem a little ill at ease with architecture that had already been heavily influenced by Victorian restoration.  In the end I focused on the parts that were attractive in their own right, even if the overall context was unsettling.  Clearly this is all very subjective!  Here is a view of the nave and chancel so you can make up your own minds!

St James, Birdham, West Sussex - MTC

A view of the 14th century chancel arch and the modern pulpit and choir stalls, which for some reason are installed on the 'wrong' side of the arch.

St James, Birdham, West Sussex - MTC

The tower arch is magnificent.  The chancel is pretty much empty.  The organ console is stuffed in behind the pulpit - at least its a good place for the organist to keep his eyes on the choir!

St James, Birdham, West Sussex - MTCSt James, Birdham, West Sussex - MTC

The colourful and rather lovely east window was a gift from a parishioner, Dvid Graham Wood, in the year of his Mastership of the Worshipful Company of Glaziers and painters of Glass, and the 650th year of the company.  It was designed by Michael Farrar Bell and dedicated on 9th May 1978.  The theme is taken from Mark chapter 1, verses 19-20.  Chichester Cathedral is in the background.

St James, Birdham, West Sussex - MTC

Hanging in the nave is an embroidery depicting saints of Sussex: St Cuthman (arriving at Steyning), St Wilfrid converting the Saxons, St Dunstan tweaking the devil's nose, St Thomas Becket visiting Pagham and St Richard tending the fig trees.  It was made in 1984, however no immediate indication of who by.

St James, Birdham, West Sussex - MTC

The font is Victorian.

St James, Birdham, West Sussex - MTC

Back outside, here is a view of the building from the south east.  The Victorian 'restoration' work is very apparent - especially the chancel.

St James, Birdham, West Sussex - MTC

A final view of the tower which has been rendered.  The tower was added to the church in about 1545.

St James, Birdham, West Sussex - MTC

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