Church of England Website


St. James’ Church


Diocese of Blackburn Website
Home About Us Service Times Church Life News & Events Gallery Links Contact

Brindle St. James’ Church - Our History

A church has existed on the current site of Brindle St. James’ since 1190 and one of the fonts dates from this time. The original church, built over 800 years ago was dedicated to St. Helen. The sacred St. Helen’s Well was located south of the village where the M61 now runs.

Brindle is one of the oldest parishes in Lancashire. The name of Brindle derives from ‘Burnhul’ meaning the hill by the stream.

The oldest parts of the present building are the church tower and the Cavendish Chapel which is on the left of the main chancel. These date from the 15th century. The Chapel wall features a small aumbry, a cupboard used to hold communion vessels.

The Church Registers begin in 1558 and the Churchwarden Accounts in 1755.

Layout of Brindle St. James

The Church Tower was built of gritstone in 1500 to house the bells.

Three bells came from the Nottingham Bell Foundary between 1450 and 1500 and two of these bells still hang in the tower and are rung every week of the year.

A Peal of six bells hangs in the tower today.

A turret clock made in 1673 by Thomas Kirkall of Boltonle- Moors was removed in 1967 and loaned to Liverpool City Museums. The present clock is driven by an electric motor.

One of the ancient Brindle Bells

The existing nave and chancel date from the beginning of the 16th century. The nave was restored in 1817 and the chancel in 1869-70. At this time the old family boxpews were replaced with the open pews we have today. The old brass pew nameplates are displayed at the back of the church.

The upstairs galleries were finally removed in 1887, and the stained glass gradually added to the windows over the years.

The wooden font cover has four carved shields, one shows the letters ‘IHS’ derived from the Greek for Jesus. The second shows a dove symbolising the Holy Spirit, and the third shows a pelican pecking at its breast as a symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice. The fourth shows three fishes which have always represented Christianity.

Box pews similar to those replaced in 1870

The pulpit is made of English oak. On the front panel is a carving of a man with a cloak fastened with a scallop shell. This represents St. James after whom the Church is dedicated. He carries a staff as he is also patron saint of pilgrims.

There are two war memorials on the West wall behind the font. One for each of the two World Wars showing the names of those from Brindle who died in these conflicts.

A floor tile commemorates the Rev. Kendal who was vicar of this church for 42 years until his death in 1864. His wife Catherine also has a floor tile.

Over the entrance door on the South Wall is a large board with a royal coat of arms painted upon it. The monogram ‘G R III’ on the upper part represents King George III who reigned from 1760 to 1820

St. James carved on the Pulpit

There are 45 rectors listed as having served over the centuries listed on two boards. The earliest is Ughtred in 1190 through (with a number of gaps where the records are incomplete) to Rev. Mark Cannon, the previous Priest in Charge.

The longest serving was Rev. Henry Pigott who ministered together with his curate, in the parish for 71 years from 1651 to 1722.

Rectors of Brindle St. James’ Church

The Church Graveyard

The earliest gravestones are outside the Vestry. Our gravestones record the lives and deaths of Brindle residents over the years.

An early stone coffin lies at the North East corner of the church. On the north and south sides of the church are two sundials with octagonal shafts and square heads with hollowed faces. Only the one on the south side has a dial plate.

The graveyard around the church is now almost full and a new graveyard has been consecrated on the other side of Water Street.

The Churchyard from the tower

Stained Glass Windows

There are thirteen stained glass windows of various sizes and designs in the church. These windows serve as memorials to those who worshipped at this church.

These are some of the finest in the Diocese and some may date back to around 1880. A separate booklet describes the windows in more detail.

The brass chandelier lights were given by the ladies of the parish in 1792 - these days lit by electricity in place of candles.

The ‘Gifts to the Village School’ board commemorates the gifts to the school dating back to 1623. A Walker positive organ was presented to the church in 1963. It was made by J.W. Walker & Son, Ruislip, Middlesex.

The chancel screen and choirstalls were installed in 1968.

One of our stained glass windows

In medieval Britain few people could read or write. As a consequence the Church used images and pictures to help the general population to learn and understand Christian teachings.

Many Biblical stories and events were depicted in Church carvings, stained glass windows and in wall paintings. Included within these religious artworks many symbols represent aspects of Christian teaching.

Symbol of the Holy Spirit

While no wall paintings have survived at St.James’ there are examples of religious symbols throughout the church.  

Instances of these include:-

The dove, located within our Stain Glass window, represents the Holy Spirit.  

Fishes, located on our Font, represent the Christian faith.

The eagle with spread wings represents divine inspiration and the spreading of the Gospel.

Fishes that represent the Christian Faith