The history of St. James the Great in Bierton dates back over seven hundred years to 1294 when the first vicar, Robert De Thame was appointed. It is believed that plans for the existing St James were drawn up during his ministry, although the present building on its existing site may not have been completed until as late as the end of the 14th century.
Opinion is varied on the exact age, although the pointed arches interlinking the four great piers supporting the tower are positively of the 14th century. The original roof was much steeper than the present lead roof, which is probably 15th/16th century. In 1636, the church was reported to be in a “ruinous condition, the steeple having fallen down.” When the roof was replaced, the walls of the north and south aisles were raised and clerestory windows were also put in to lighten the church interior.
The stonework of the church is very light and the stones most likely came from the quarries at Totternhoe in the Chiltern Hills, near Dunstable. There is no early glass in the church, but the present stained glass windows are interesting and of good workmanship. At one time there were pews and pew boxes, but these were replaced by the present chairs, probably in the late 1920s.
The barrel-shaped font is most likely 12th century which would be older than the present church, suggesting an earlier church may well have existed in Bierton. Inside the church, the greatest treasure is a pre-reformation silver paten which is at least 14th century. This is no longer at Bierton, but on display in the Cathedral at Christ Church, Oxford.
The church has six bells in its belfry and nearby is a seventh. The oldest is the sanctus bell from 1678. At one time the bells could only be chimed, but following refurbishment in 1972 the bells are now able to be pealed.
The church nowadays continues to play a very important role in Bierton family life and the community.
Some very important people to thank. The above historic information about the church is taken from ‘The Story of Bierton: the Village, the Church and Its People’ and is reproduced courtesy of the kind permission of the authors, Michael Griffin and Robin Thurston. The historic photo of Bierton church is reproduced courtesy of the excellent Buckinghamshire County Council Photograph archives. Finally, we are very grateful to the church Reverend who has kindly given his permission for the cache to be hidden and who is aware of its location.
A fairly straightforward cache located at this very historic church. The church has no car park, but very close nearby parking is available along either Great Lane, Parsons Lane or on the Aylesbury Road towards Aylesbury from the church. Please park considerately and avoid Parsons Lane during school drop off and pick up hours.
The hint is intended to be a spoiler if you get into difficulty, so please attempt the cache without referring to it if you can. Good luck!
If anybody would like to expand to this series please do, I would just ask that you could let Sadexploration know first so he can keep track of the Church numbers and names to avoid duplication
To view the church micro stats & information page, please click here