St James the Great

Situated in the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this Grade II* listed church dates back to at least the 12th century.

Cradley, Herefordshire

Opening times

Covid19 : During the current restrictions relating to Covid19 it is open daily from 9am to 5pm.

[Normally open : Open daily between 8am to 5pm during the winter and 8am to 7pm during the summer.]


Rectory Lane
WR13 5LH

The tower of the present church dates from the 12th century. The Domesday Book refers to a priest in Cradley and to the Bishop of Hereford owning land in the parish. Although not specifically mentioned, it is therefore likely that there was a Saxon church on the site, and some stones with Saxon carvings are set randomly into the external walls.

Of particular interest to visitors is the historic association of Cradley church with Revd Dr Thomas Bisse, Rector from 1713 to 1731, Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral and brother of the then Bishop of Hereford. He was instrumental in founding the annual Three Choirs Festival, which is now considered to be the oldest regular music festival in the world. The font (1722) and tenor bell (1724) were given by him. The chancel was restored in 1867-8 by Sir George Gilbert Scott, and in 1869-70 the nave was restored, and the north aisle added, by AE Perkins.

The east window (1872), by Hardman & Co of Birmingham, was given in memory of Thomas Webb, founder of the eponymous firm making fine English glass and crystal in Stourbridge, who spent his retirement in Cradley. The St Francis window (1936) in the north wall of the Sanctuary commemorates the family of Revd Thomas Ayscough (Rector from 1892 to 1917) and is an outstanding example of the work of AJ Davies of the Bromsgrove Guild. It is of national significance. The front choir stalls were made at the Morgan Motor Company’s workshop in Malvern, donated by the Morgan family, and have small representations of Morgan sports cars on the central feet. The cross above the sanctuary, donated by a parishioner, was also made at the Morgan factory.

The churchyard is very picturesque, with its 16th century lychgate and the village hall, a half timbered 15th century building standing in its southeast corner.

The church is open daily and visitors are always welcome. In its beautiful setting it is a popular place for walkers to stop and enjoy the free self service refreshments that we provide.

  • Captivating architecture

  • Enchanting atmosphere

  • Famous connections

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Glorious furnishings

  • National heritage here

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Wildlife haven

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Dog friendly

  • Level access throughout

  • On street parking at church

  • Parking within 250m

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Church of England

  • Repair Grant, £10,000, 2018

  • Our Repair Grants funded urgent repair work to help keep churches open.

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Great Malvern Priory

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When the priory was founded in the 11th century, this part of Worcestershire was a densely wooded forest, probably as remote as anywhere in England.

St James the Great

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The church is in Old Colwall, at the time of the Doomsday Book it consisted of 23 households including an episcopal manor of the Bishop of Hereford.