The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
St. James' Church, Duke's Place.
The inhabitants of this parish, previous to the dissolution of the adjacent priory, resorted to a chapel, which stood in the cemetery of that establishment. In the year the parish obtained a licence to erect a church for themselves. The archbishop of Canterbury, with the lord mayor and sheriffs, assisted them in this new erection, which, in all probability was nothing more than a reparation of the ancient chapel, and the conversion of into a parish church, which, in honour of the reigning monarch, was dedicated to St. James. The body was rebuilt, or nearly so, in the year .
The building is nearly square, being feet in breadth and in length, the height feet. The tower is situated on the north side of the church, adjacent to the west front; but only connected by its south wall with the present building. The whole is at present built or faced with brick; the church is very plain; the west front has arched doorways, and above them
|windows, with semicircular heads; a similar window is in the south wall, and windows of the same form in the east end. The north side has an entrance, but no window; the present appearance was given to the building in . The tower is evidently older than the restoration of the church. It is in stories, and square in its plan; its height is feet. The basement contains, in the west front, a doorway, with an obtusely pointed arch, and a stone window-case of the same form, as well as a small semicircular headed window, the arch turned in brick-work The remaining stories have semicircular arched windows; those of the upper story are repeated on every side of the structure: it is finished with a plain parapet, and on the platform is a small turret, containing a bell; the whole of the turret is faced with a coating of red brick, of the date of , which has been repaired with the modern brick of the period of its reparation in ; the tower itself is evidently older than the period, as pointed windows of lights with mullions, having trefoil heads worked in stone, may still be seen within the modern brick openings in the casing. The original structure was, no doubt, the tower of the cemetery chapel before mentioned; and the church itself, after the repair, probably presented the appearance of a stone building, repaired and faced with brick; this supposition alone accounts for its decay in the course of a century, as the exterior of the present building is certainly not older than the last repair. The interior has much the appearance of a dissenting meeting; it is divided in breadth into aisles by doric columns, raised on plinths, and sustaining an entablature, all of wood. The shafts are now coloured in imitation of yellow, and the rest of the order of veined marble. The ceiling, which rests on these columns, is flat and unornamented. The pulpit, and much of the woodwork, are of the date of ; the altar-screen, which has the commandments, &c. on arched pannels, and is ornamented with pilasters and painted cherubs in the spandrils, is an addition at the last repair; above it are paintings of Moses and Aaron. The font is a circular basin of free-stone, on a single pillar of the same material. In the central eastern window are coats of arms in stained glass, with other detached remains, evidently taken from a mullioned window. Among the arms are those of sir Edward Barkham, the lord mayor at the time of their rebuilding; the city arms, and those of the company of Clothworkers; the former have been removed from another window. The remaining pieces of glass shew the Hebrew name of the Deity, a sun, and also fragments of canopies. The organ was set up in . There are no ancient monuments, but some modern ones, which are merely mural slabs. The church is almost surrounded by a burying-ground, the ancient cemetery of the priory,; in contains, however, no monument of interest.|