St. James's Church, Meltham Mills

This page is a bare-bones entry for a location which appears on an historic Ordnance Survey map. More detailed information may eventually be added...


  • appears on maps: 1854 [#266]
  • location: Meltham Mills
  • status: still exists
  • category: church or chapel

Endowed by James Brook (1773-1845), together with his sons William Leigh and Charles, and designed by James Pigott Pritchett of York in a Perpendicular Gothic style. Consecrated in November 1845, it replaced an earlier chapel built nearby in 1838 (also designed by Pritchett and with an organ by Ward of York).[1]

The foundation stone was laid in April 1844 by William Leigh Brook of Meltham Hall. Prior to setting the stone, Brook placed a number of coins underneath. The brass plate on the stone read:[2]

The Foundation Stone of St. James's Church, Meltham Mills, in the Parish of Almondbury, was laid by William Leigh Brook, Esq., of Meltham Hall, eldest son of James Brook, Esq., the Founder, on Friday 26 April 1844, in the 7th year of the reign of Queen Victoria.
Lewis Jones, Vicar of Almondbury.
Pritchett & Son, Architects.

The first leader of the church choir was Joe Perkin (1809-1868) of Holmfirth.[3]

Historic England Listing

  • Grade II
  • first listed 6 April 1967
  • listing entry number 1134665

MELTHAM MILLS ROAD (Meltham Mills). Church of St. James.

Gothic Revival Church. 1845 by J P Pritchett. Endowed and founded by James Brook of Thorparch. Dressed stone with ashlar dressings. Pitched slate roof with gable copings. Cruciform plan with square west tower with slender, octagonal stone spire. Chancel with side bays. South porch on south transept. Square porch on south side of tower. Bay divisions marked by buttresses. Angle buttresses to corners surmounted by tall pinnacles. 4-bay nave, transepts are 2 bays deep, 2-bay chancel under which, at east end, is arched slype with foiled window openings. Vault under chancel with arched entrance on east side. Single bay to each side of chancel containing vestry and organ. Slender 2-light lancets with cusped heads and hood moulds to nave. Similar north and south 3-light window to transepts. Single and 2-light traceried windows with cambered heads to chancel and side bays. East window is 3-light with cusped lights and two quatrefoils in head. 2-tier tower with diagonal buttresses and crenellated ashlar parapet with crocketted pinnacles. Simple 2-light bell chamber openings, and slender 2-light lancets with transom to lower tier, all with hood moulds with mask-like faces as stops.

Interior: gallery to west, and north and south transepts, the latter now gone. Those to north and south were presumably later than 1853 since they part obscure wall memorials, one of that date. Galleries were reached from the outside. Chancel and transept arches on clustered responds. Diagonally crossbraced roof with carved bosses,

Carved oak reredos, pulpit, reading desk and good. eagle lecturn. Memorial to James Brook of Thorparch, 1845, by E G Physick, a marble relief depicting mother and child and departing husband. Also by E G Physick, 1855, a memorial to Charlotte and William Leigh Brook of Meltham Hall, a marble relief of lamenting women. A memoral to James Brook of Thornton Lodge, died 1840, by H Mares.

See Also...



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Notes and References

  1. "The Consecration of St. James' Church, Meltham Mills" in Leeds Intelligencer (15 Nov/1845) and "New Organ" in York Herald (01/Sep/1838).
  2. "New Church at Meltham Mills" in Leeds Intelligencer (04/May/1844).
  3. Leeds Intelligencer (04/Oct/1845).