Oldfield Park Junior School (Bath) WW1 Memorial Project
St James's Parish (Bath)
This brass plaque was the memorial of St James parish in the southern part of the centre of Bath. The church of St James was destroyed by fire bombs during the Bath Blitz in April 1942 and this plaque was subsequently saved. It is now on display in the porch of St Barnabas Church, Southdown, which was built from the proceeds of the sale of the St James site in the city centre. Much of the masonry from the church of St James was unceremoniously dumped on a site in Lyncombe Vale when the building was demolished, but some found its way to St Philip's Church on Odd Down (whose enlargement was also funded from the sale) in the form of the ashlar cross in the church's east wall. St Philip's Church also took on the St James dedication, with these saints often paired as their feast day falls on the same day. (Thanks to Mr David Carter for providing the explanation as to why St Barnabas received the St James plaque).
|LEFT :An exterior view of St James Church, Bath, in the 1920s and RIGHT: the aftermath of the bombing, which the above plaque somehow survived. [Both images from www.bathintime.co.uk|
In January 1920, a line appeared in the newspaper to the effect that the St James War Memorial Committee was preparing a plan to erect a stone cross as a memorial in the grounds adjoining the Memorial Hall (now unoficially called 'Pigeon Park'). But this clearly did not materialise.
From the Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, Saturday 6th March 1920:
"The committee appointed to consider the character of the St. James's war memorial met recently, and decided to recommend the erection in the church of a commemorative tablet bearing the names of the fallen parishioners and members of the congregation. It is suggested that the total cost of the memorial shall not exceed £100. The committee have under consideration several supplementary schemes which it is hoped will add to the beauty of the interior of St. James's. "
From the Bath Chronicle & Weekly Gazette, Saturday 29th October 1921:
ST. JAMES'S, BATH.
WAR MEMORIALS DEDICATED.
COMMEMORATIVE WINDOWS AND TABLETS.
VISIT OF THE REV. R. W. B. MOORE.
By their presence in large numbers at the service of dedication of their parochial war memorials on Wednesday evening, the congregation of St. James's, Bath, proved conclusively that they are still mindful of our gallant dead. Forty-six parishioners or members the congregation are commemorated in these memorials, which consist of two symbolical windows in the west porch, one on either side of the main entrance, and two commemorative tablets. The larger tablet, which has been placed on the outside of the west wall of the church below the south memorial window, commemorates all the 46 men who perished. The other tablet, the gift of an anonymous donor, commemorates the three choirmen who perished. The cost of the memorials was approximately £13O, and the whole of the sum necessary was raised before the work was taken in hand.
THE DEDICATION SERVICE.The dedication was performed by the Rev. R. W. B. Moore, now Rector of Haddesley, Yorks, and for 14 years Vicar of St. James's. The other robed clergy present were the Vicar, the Rev. F. Garfield Waterbury, and the Rev. J. O. Evans, a former curate. The churchwardens, Messrs. A. E. Rowse and H. H. Sprouting, bearing their wands of office, walked in the procession, as did Messrs. A. B. Titley and E. A. Spear (their predecessors in that office). The St. James's Girl Guides, under Miss Maud Spear, were present, and the St. James's Silver Band, conducted by Mr. T. R. Thorne, took part in the service. Others in the congregation who are practically interested in the work at St. James's were Mr. G. E. A. Skinner (hon. lay reader), Mr. W. H. Smith and Alderman F. W. Spear. Mr. H. C. T. Gill was at the organ.
A special form of shortened evensong was used. The processional hymn was 'O God, our help in ages past'. The special psalm was the 46th, "God is our hope and strength", sung to Turner's chant in D flat. The Nunc Dimittis was sung to the chant by Wallace in E. The service was conducted by the Vicar, who also read the lesson, taken from the lesson prescribed for use in the Burial Service.
During the singing of the hymn 'For all the saints', the choir proceeded to the west end the church, the men leading. Here they halted in a double line, and remained during the dedication ceremony. This was solemnly performed the Rev. R. W. B. Moore, who recited the names inscribed on the commemorative tablet. The choir then returned to their stalls at the east end of the church, where the memorial to their three fellow members who perished was, in like manner, unveiled and solemnly dedicated. The anthem by Sir George Elvey, ' The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God', with its memories of All Saints' Day, was then sung.
THE COMMENDATORY ADDRESS.In an address from the pulpit, based on Hebrews, ch. 11, verse 4, "He being dead, yet speaketh", the Rev. R. W. B. Moore said their first thought that evening was instinctively and inevitably of those gallant members of their church whose names had just been read. Nobly they went from their midst as did thousands of others throughout the land. As he spoke that evening to his old friends in that church, and as they recalled tbe hardships which their brothers had endured in the war, they must feel that their minds were torn in two directions. On the one side, they had their feelings of sorrow, on the other they felt the value of that sympathetic link which had so long bound them together in the parochial life of that church. The preacher, speaking from his own store of intimate personal knowledge, then mentioned individually many of those whose names appeared on that roll of honour, and recalled many of their traits of character and the services they had rendered to the life of the church.
PARISHIONERS AND THE WAR.Continuing, he mentioned the service which the parishioners had rendered to their fighting men during the war — works in which he and his family had been privileged to take part. There had been the despatching of parcels and subsequently the provision of a rest-room in that parish for invalid soldiers. He had great pleasure in visiting his old parish again that evening on the kind invitation of the Vicar. In their name, he wished their Vicar God-speed, and prayed that he might granted strength in the future. He understood that there was to be another change in the life of that parish, and he desired to extend his sympathy to the congregation in the trying time of transition. In the name of tbe congregation, he would venture once more to bespeak their sympathy for the coming Vicar, as he had done for his own successor. The clergy, after all, were mortal and very fallible, and they should not expect too much from their coming Vicar. He acknowledged the help he had received during his own 14 years' ministry at St. James's from hos two able churchwardens and from several other colleagues. But the value of the spiritual work which had been accomplished in that parish was really due to their predecessors. There was Mr cavill, whom, he believed, few now remembered, the Rev. P. W. G. Filleul, and the late Dr G. L. James, who died only a few months ago. The memory of the sacrifice of their gallant dead, said the preacher, in conclusion, was bound to have a posthumous influence. They seemed almost to hear those voices beyond the veil.
At the conclusion of the sermon, the hymn 'On the Resurrection Morning' was sung. Then Bugler Woolley sounded the "Last Post", which was preceded by a roll of drums and accompanied by the band. After a pause, the bugler sounded the glad notes of the "Reveille," and the solemn service ended with the National Anthem, played by the band.
THE WINDOWS AND TABLETS.The memorial windows are fixed in openings each side of the vestibule doors and in the north panel a figure of Our Lord is shown extending His blessing to a kneeling sailor. The south panel shows a soldier in khaki surrendering his sword to Christ, symbolical that the fight is over and victory won, while above the figures the "Crown of Reward" is placed. The shafting and surrounding ornament is designed in harmony with the general architecture of the church. The colouring is both rich and effective, and considerably adds to the adornment of this church. The inscription on the larger tablet is:
"To the glory of God and in loving memory of those from this congregation and parish
who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War, 1914-1918."
Victor W. H. Blatchford, William Arthur Burnell, Francis William Brown, Frederick James Clarke, H. W. Clarke, Henry George Dyke, Albert England, Frank Evans, Herbert Sydney Farley, Valentine Farlev,. William Follon, Joseph Archibald Flynn, Thomas Frederick Flynn, John Foster, Arthur Godwin, Francis Thomas Goodson, William Charles Gillard, Alfred Hancock, Philip Habershon, Joseph Phillips, Gorge Crowley, Reg. Maggs, Henry Bodman, Sidney Habershon, Lescombe Thomas Harrison, Cyril Isaacs, Thomas King, Charles Padfield, Alfred George Ponfield, William John Ponfield, Ralph Porch, Samuel G. Price, William George Reed, Leonard Saunders, Isaac Shortman, Thomas Bertram Smith, James Targett, Sidney Tett, Francis William Veal, Frederick Vaughan, Ernest Sidnev Alexander West, Benjamin Williams, George Stott, Robert Brown, Arthur Winchcombe, F. Alex Cheeseman.
[N.B. The tablet today also includes the name of Ernest Whittock]
The inscription on the tablet on the north side of the chancel entrance, in memory of the three choristers, who are also commemorated on the general tablet, is:
"To the glory of God and in memory of Thomas Bertram Smith, Tom King, Ernest S. A. West, choristers of this church killed in the Great War, 1914-1918."
The contractors for the entire work of the memorial windows and brasses were Messrs J. W. Knight and Son, of 3 and 4, Beau Street, Bath.
One of the memorial windows as described in the newspaper article of 1921
As a footnote to the above, the 'trying time of transition' mentioned in the address was occasioned by the resignation of one of the clergy, Rev G. H. Curle, which was a 'difficult' episode for the parish as there was a very public debate about the fact that Rev Curle was resigning on grounds of his stipend being insufficient.