St James the Less

Built between 1327 and 1377 during the reign of Edward III, the stone carvings high on the walls of the chancel commemorate this fact as Edward looks across from the south side at his wife, Queen Phillipa, on the north.

Sulgrave, Northamptonshire

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Church Street
OX17 2RP

Above the south porch is a stone, renewed in 1979, showing the initials ER (Elizabeth Regina) and the date 1564. The Queen was in Northampton that year, and it is possible that the porch was built to celebrate her visit.

This Tudor porch is very interesting. The fleur de lys is a reminder of the link which existed between the thrones of England and France. There are the letters JHS and XRS, Greek for Jesus and Christ. On the sides of the entrance are carved I and R, which may stand for ‘Jesus Rex’.

The west door is Saxon and could date from the 10th century. The tower holds six inscribed bells and also a small medieval Sanctus bell.

The octagonal font is made of local stone with lead lining and a deeply incised design of oak leaves dates from the 15th century.

The large oak chest is very old. Local tradition says it belonged to the Washington family. The chest would have been used for the safe keeping of the church valuables. It was also used by the ‘Culworth Gang’ to hold their loot, when William Abbott was churchwarden and also a highwayman! In 1885 it was used for storing coal. Now it holds hymn books and sheet music.

On the south side of the chancel is a small perpendicular window dating from the reign of Edward III. Beneath this window is the low side door, used before the reformation for the ringing of the bell to announce the Elevation of the Host at Mass.

In the window above the Washington pew are four panels of Elizabethan glass, depicting the Coat of Arms of the three generations of the Washington family. The lower right hand side are those of Lawrence Washington and his wife Amee Pargiter. To their left are those of his parents and their eldest son. All show the mullets and bars, which inspired the stars and stripes of the United States of America. In front of the pew, under a large slab of Hornton stone, Lawrence Washington, his wife and their eldest son Robert are buried.

  • Spectacular stained glass

  • Social heritage stories

  • National heritage here

  • Magnificent memorials

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Famous connections

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Space to secure your bike

  • Parking within 250m

  • On street parking at church

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Dog friendly

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • Church of England

Contact information

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