Avebury, St James Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Late Saxon windows
The church dates to around the year 1000 AD, and still has its tall, narrow Saxon nave, though this was later altered by the Normans, who also added aisles in the 12th century.
How did Avebury manage to keep its rood screen after Elizabeth I ordered all such screens to be destroyed in 1561? Apparently the parishioners disassembled the screen and carefully hid the timbers behind a false wall of lath and plaster against the east wall of the nave. If the deception had been discovered the perpetrators would have been in serious trouble, but the screen timbers remained hidden until they were found by accident in 1810. The loft was restored in 1878-84, and repainted in its original colours.
A Saxon string course runs along the top of the aisle wall, and a section of Saxon cross-shaft has been set into the north--west corner of the wall.
In the north aisle is a parish chest dated 1634, and there is a section of an old bell-frame on display, dated 1636.
- Historic Highlights
- Saxon windows
- Norman font carving
- Norman south doorway
I've been to St James 3 or 4 times, and I'm always struck by the sense of age and history I get. Even in a place like Avebury, with its constant reminders of Britain's ancient history, this wonderful church has something special about it.
Address: Church Walk, Avebury, Wiltshire, England, SN8 1RG
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: Immediately beside Avebury Manor, or off High Street. Parking in the National Trust parking area for all Avebury attractions. Usually open daylight hours.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Avebury Stone Circle - 0.1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Avebury Manor and Garden - 0.1 miles (Historic House)
Alexander Keiller Museum - 0.1 miles (Museum)
West Kennet Avenue - 0.4 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Silbury Hill - 0.8 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Windmill Hill - 1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Winterbourne Monkton, St Mary Magdalene Church - 1.3 miles (Historic Church)
West Kennet Long Barrow - 1.4 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Nearest Accommodation to Avebury:
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Devizes Tourism Partnership
Wiltshire Heritage Museum
41 Long Street
Tel: 01380 800 400
The official Devizes TIC is now closed, but visitor information is available at several locations, including the Kennet and Avon Canal Museum, Wadworth Visitor Centre and Wiltshire Heritage Museum. Opening times vary with location. The Wiltshire Heritage Museum is currently open Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sundays and Bank Holiday 12noon to 4pm (subject to change). Not open on Mondays in winter.