St James the Great

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There are two distinct reasons for coming here. The rare medieval wooden effigies and the association with the great nonconformist missionary William Carey (1761–1834).

About this church

St James is a well positioned medieval church at the far end of this handsome village, the Pury bit of the name reminds us that apricots grew here. The medieval church survives thanks to good 19th century restoration.

The font is earlier being Norman although some reconstruction must have occurred here as you will find the lunette decoration is upside down. The stained glass windows are also late 19th century as are the murals in the chancel by Swinfen Harris.

It is in the chancel that you will find the wooden effigies thought to be of Sir Lawrence de Paveley and his wife, from around 1340. Adjacent is the early 17th century tomb to the Throckmortons who owned the manor here. Unusually and rather touchingly the recumbent couple look into each other’s eyes and their elbows touch.

William Carey was born at Pury End an adjacent hamlet, in 1761. His father was a weaver and became both parish clerk and schoolmaster at Paulerspury, The young Carey worshipped in this church before leaving for Piddington when he was 14 and it was there that he joined the Baptist church, leaving for India in 1793 as a missionary. He is known as the 'father of modern mission' not just for his work as a Baptist minister, author and translator of the bible into Bengali but also for founding the missionary college at Serampore in west Bengal. His memorial in the church is adjacent to the south door.

Key Features

  • Captivating architecture
  • Spectacular stained glass
  • Magnificent memorials
  • Fascinating churchyard
  • Wildlife haven

Visitors information

  • Level access to the main areas
  • On street parking at church
  • Parking within 250m
  • Accessible toilets nearby
  • Dog friendly
  • Walkers & cyclists welcome
  • Space to secure your bike

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