About the Church of St James the Great, Longburton

The Tower is the oldest part of the building, mid 13th Century, with typical Early EngLish Lancet windows. It was heightened in the 15th century with embattled parapet and gargoyles. The bell-chamber was added in the 16th or 17th century with two square-headed lights in each wall. There are six bells. The Treble by John Taylor of Loughborough in 1992 bearing the inscription ‘In memory of Rosamond Herbert-Smith 1900 – 1988’. The 2nd by John Taylor of Loughborough in 1992 bearing the inscription ‘Given by the People of Longburton’. The 3rd by Thomas Knight of Glosworth in 1701 with ‘Sir George Stroad Anno Domini 1907 T.K.’ inscribed. The 4th by Thomas Bilbie of Chewstoke in 1764 with the inscription ‘Rev. Mr William Sharpe, Mr Thomas Collins and Mr William Swetman, Church Wardens’. The 5th by Thomas Bilbie of Chewstoke in 1764 and the Tenor by the Salisbury Foundry in the earLy 16th century bearing the inscription ‘Sit Nomen Domine Benedictum’.
The West Door is partly restored late 14th century, but is seldom used. The Tower Arch is two centred, Early English, and has re-set under it one pair of 17th century screens which originally stood in the North Chapel to protect the monuments. It has a radiating gadroon ornament and a metal spiked top. The second screen forms part of the vestry in the North Aisle. Near the Tower Arch is a 17th century wooden chest with panelled front and ends. It has three locks.

The Nave has a modern North Arcade and two 15th century windows in the South Wall. The one nearest the pulpit has stained glass and depicts the Nunc Dimittis, the Visit to the Temple and the Baptism by St. John. The Font is 15th century and is made of local Ham Hill stone. It is an octagonaL bowl with flowers in quatrefoil panels. It has a moulded underside plain stem and moulded base which were kindly donatedby the late Colonel and Mrs Ireland- Smith. Some of the original lead moulding is in a frame on the North Wall.

The Squint is modern and was built into the wall if the North Chapel when the church was restored in 1873 and the North Aisle added. Above it there is a small section of 12th century chevron stonework. The South Porch is of the 15th century and has a moulded and two centred outer archway. In the West Wall is a window of one square headed light.

An interesting feature is the sundial on the S.E. buttress of the Nave, where there is a stone cut with a scratch dial and two crosses. Stuart Arms over the South doorway are painted on a wooden panel. Set up soon after the restoration of Charles II, initialled and dated C.R. 1662. It is inscribed with the ominous words from Ecclesiastes – ‘Curse not the King, noe, not in thy thought’.

The Chancel Arch is 15th century, moulded and two centred. Attached shafts have moulded capitals and there is a row of trefoil-headed panels between the two mouldings. The Chancel is particularly interesting for its 15th century windows. The stained glass is, of course, modern. It depicts, over the altar, The Nativity, The Crucifixion and The Ascension of our Lord. The three windows in the South Wall shows St. Edward Rex and St. Helena; and St. Aldhelm, the patron saint of Sherborne. On the floor of the Chancel is a magnificent tablet to the memory of Sir John Fitzjames of Leweston 1670, and his wife Margaret (Stephens) 1685. It has an achievement and shield of arms. The Communion Table is early 17th century, with turned legs and enriched top rails and stretchers. Plate includes a cup of 1616 with a band of engraved ornament round the bowl (this is now on display in the Chapter House at Salisbury).

The North Chapel was built in the early 17th century and contains two impressive canopied monuments. The first is to Sir John Fitzjames 1625 and his wife Joan (Trenchard) 1612, and was erected by their son Leweston Fitzjames. It consists of a painted stone monument with recumbent figures of a man in armour, head on book; his wife in ruff, gown and cloak. Below the slab are stone bones, spade and pickaxe. The second monument is very similar to the first. It is to Thomas Winston, his son Sir Henry Winston and his wife Dioness (Bond) 1609 – 1610. This was erected by their daughter Eleanor Fitzjames. Above both tombs are cartouches and shields of arms. Incidentally, another daughter, Sarah, married John Churchill form the parish of Glanvilles Wootton. This couple were the grandparents of John, 1st Duke of Marlborough, a direct ancestor of the late Sir Winston Churchill.

In a corner of the vestry, in the North Aisle, is the working mechanism of a wrought iron, late 17th century, Turret- clock. It was fully repaired and restored in 1972 by Andrew L. James, then a scholar at Sherborne School. The Stained Glass in the window of the North Aisle is medieval in origin.