The church of Avebury Saint James

(See Image Map, ‘I’). The church of Avebury Saint James is situated on a plot of land just outside the main Avebury complex, near to the Western entrance/exit. The church has undergone several periods of construction, the earliest evidence for which dates to the Anglo-Saxon/pre-Norman period and one estimate dates it to approx. 1000 A.D. The church was altered by the Normans who made several prominent changes to the design of the building, most notably the south doorway with its beautifully carved arch. It is also the Normans who mention the first recorded priest to the church, Rainbold. Alterations continued through the 12th-19th centuries, with many rich an diverse additions being added by successive generations.

The lychgate of St. JamesThe lychgate at the entrance to the grounds of Avebury St. James was erected in 1899 by Messrs. Shipway and Titcombe who lived locally and was designed by the architect Charles Pointing who also lived close to Avebury. Traditionally, a lychgate is the place where a coffin is laid while part of the burial service is read, serving also as shelter against inclement weather.

The font from St. JamesThe font dates to the early 12th Century and is currently situated in the Tower section of the church. Although not very clear, the carving on the font depicts Christ trampling on two dragons. In one hand Christ holds a book whilst the right hand holds a crosier with which he subdues one of the dragons. Up until 1883 the font was situated in the north aisle of the church.


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