ST JAMES' THE GREAT
St James', Sutton, seen from
the old railway bridge on Sutton Road
ST PETERS, WAWNE
St Peter's, Wawne, from the churchyard,
looking approx to the NE ;
click the photo for details of the history of St
Find details of Vicars and Parish
Offices by contacting
Find details of the 2000 graves
We do now have the same facility
for St Peter's Churchyard.
A similar list is on the Churchyard page
and a digital file available to research in the Museum.
a Brief History oftaken from the notes prepared by Merrill
the Church of St James the Great,
Sutton on Hull,
also known as, in olden times,
Sutton in Holderness
(click the photo-link above for details of St
Peter's at Wawne).
The terms in CAPITALS refer to illustrations and
diagrams in the original leaflet, which is still available
from the Church Exhibition in the Old School, open every
Friday, admission free.
The website of St James' Church now has a
Photo Gallery page on which there are
a good selection of photos of the church
EARLY HISTORY to the
A Chapel at Sudtone
(Sutton) was first mentioned c.1160, occupying the
site of the present church. It was built on the relatively high
ridge of land stretching from Waghen (Wawne) towards Bilton,
and was surrounded by low-lying marshy ground. It was separated
from the mother church of Waghen in 1247. After this, Sutton
had its own priests, usually relatives of the Lords of the
manor, though Wawne retained rights of burial until much
By 1346, the chapel being in a
dilapidated condition, the Lord of the manor, Sir John de
Sutton, junior, decided to found a college of priests at
Sutton, and agreed with his uncle, Thomas Sampson, rector, that
the rebuilding should be undertaken at once.
The result is the building we see today, though much altered inside.
Sir John was responsible for the expense of building the nave, using bricks, the manufacture of which had
recently been introduced; and the chancel was remodelled or
rebuilt by Thomas Sampson (or his college of priests), the
stone being brought upriver to Stoneferry and thence by the
Antholme Dyke to Sutton.
The new church was dedicated on 12 September 1349. Already in
place in the chancel, some eight years before his death, was
the fine stone TOMB of the founder, Sir John de Sutton,
depicted clad in the armour he wore in 1346 at the Battle of
Crècy. 1349 was a year of national significance,
remembered for that great pestilence, the Black Death. Out of
50 monks at Meaux, only 10 survived, and the population
generally, much diminished.
As we stand at the West end, we see
the nave and chancel built in the Decorated style, the nave for
the use of the villagers, and the unusually long chancel where
the priests of the college said their daily
The west end, including the brick
Tower, was built later, probably at the beginning of the 15th
century, in Perpendicular style. The nave aisles were extended
to embrace the tower. Note the west DOOR and WINDOW, and, too,
the massive, diagonally-placed PIERS, all typical of the
The Font and
The FONT, set on a modern base, dates from about 1200, and
probably stood in the old chapel. The nailhead ornamentation
round the rim characterises the Early English period. The font
was moved here to form the small baptistery in 1922, the area
formerly being used as a side chapel. Possibly the PISCINA
(drain for washing the sacred vessels) in the south-east corner
of the nave also dates from this time. The position of this
piscina, and the nearby niche, indicates that formerly an altar
would have stood here; and also in the corresponding place in
the north-east corner, where an aumbrey can be
The carved oak SCREEN between the
tower and the font is a beautiful fragment dating from about
1450, and is probably part of the rood screen which originally
separated the Nave and Chancel. Note the Perpendicular tracery,
and see how one bay, possibly forming part of the door, differs
from the other four.
After the Reformation, along with the
dissolution of the monasteries, came the suppression of the
religious communities, and the College of St James was
dissolved about 1547. The priests were pensioned off and the
property of the church was seized by the Crown.
Soon afterwards, parish registers were
kept, at first in Latin, later in English.
For the next 300 years, Sutton church
gradually decayed and was repaired or patched up. The height of
the chancel was cut down, destroying the chancel arch and the
tracery and pointed arch of the east window, now of five
lights, but originally seven. The pitch of the nave roof was
lowered and its external walls covered with rough cast. Some
windows lost their tracery and were blocked.
& 19th CENTURIES
In 1785 the first of the galleries was
erected, positioned between the arches of the nave and the side
walls, which were pierced for the placement of windows, forming
a kind of clerestory. Seat stalls had replaced the open
benches, and at that time a singing loft was situated at the
west end. Beneath was an organ, worked by a handle. A fine
three-decker pulpit stood between the nave and chancel, on a
level with the galleries, with the reading-desk and clerk's
desk below. The PAINTING of St James the Great by Parkin, was
fixed to the front panel. The church interior was very
different from that of today.
The Victorians set about restoring the church in July 1866,
when the building was closed for worship for a year. A brass
plate in the vestry records the architect as R G Smith, the
Borough Surveyor, though the Plans in the County archives show
the architect as Cuthbert Brodrick. The galleries were removed,
and the chancel arch and floor raised. Next to the new SEDILIA,
but much lower, remains the medieval PISCINA. The east and west
windows were reconstructed. Stone PIERS in the nave replaced
the imposing brick columns. The whole church was reseated and
open pews installed. A new VESTRY was built to replace the one
in the south-west corner. The WALL MONUMENTS in this corner are
interesting, the virtues of those commemorated being much
cherished; the Bell family was prominent in Sutton for several
decades. Another interesting tablet, in the baptistry, is that
of Charles Pool, who was the King's commissioner for
drainage in this low-lying parish. The new PULPIT of marble and
stone was acquired. The ROOFS were remodelled and raised. At
the same time, the PARSONAGE HOUSE was built in Wawne Road,
designed by Sutton architect and historian, Thomas
Shortly after the major restoration, gas lighting was
installed, and in 1870 the monument of the founder was moved
from the centre of the chancel to the side. In 1873 the present
ORGAN by Forster & Andrews was built, though the organ
chamber itself was not completed for another ten years. Its
presence gives a somewhat curious appearance in that the
Decorated windows now look into the organ chamber and vestry,
instead of onto the churchyard.
In 1889 a great deal of exterior work
was carried out, including the buttresses. The south side was
provided with new battlements and pinnacles, whilst the north
wall was completely taken down and the windows of the galleries
removed. A new doorway was constructed.
The name of LIDDELL will be noted -
inhabitants of Sutton House for almost a century, and great
benefactors of the church. To them we owe the handsome brass
LECTERN, the stained glass of the east and west windows, the
re-casting of three bells, and a further three
Of the windows, that of the three
saints in the north-east of the nave is probably the finest. The
glass was a product of the firm of C E Kempe, depicting in the
lower left corner a small wheatsheaf, the symbol of the glazier.
The central light shows the patron saint of the church, St James
the Great, wearing his pilgrim's hat with its cockle shell,
and carrying his pilgrim's wallet and staff. The window was
set up in 1906 in memory of Thomas Kirk, who lived at 1 Church
Mount. His family owned Kirk's Farm, on the site of Kirk
Close, and were connected with the Kirk Collection at
In 1920, the widow of Thomas Margison
gave as a memorial the new CHOIR STALLS and READING DESK, and
funds for the sanctuary walls to be panelled. The frontal
carvings of the altar were executed at about the same time by
the vicar, Revd George Arthur Coleman.
A further commemoration was made by
the Scott family of The Hollies in 1933 when the church was
provided with electric lighting.
It was not until 1955 that the rough-casting placed on the nave walls in
1793 was removed, exposing once again the medieval brickwork on the
south side, now 650 years old. A decade later, it was deemed necessary to
rebuild the battlements on that side.
In 1968 the vestry was refurbished in
oak by 'Mousie' Thompson, as a memorial to Emily
Calvert by her husband, Con, whose family were Sutton
blacksmiths for a century and a half.
The 19th century porch over the south
door was removed in 1972, being by then in a poor state of
St James' Church has been the
centre of worship in Sutton and Bransholme since medieval
times, and we hope you will enjoy your visit to this beautiful
© 2001 : Merrill
BACK TO THE
The website of St James' Church
now has a
Photo Gallery page on which there are
a good selection of photos of the church
Go to a brief history of
St Peter's at
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"SUTTON, BRANSHOLME, &
Church & People ~ a
. . . is Merrill Rhodes acclaimed book
local history of the area.
Sadly, this book is now 'out-of-print', including the second edition that was reprinted in 2006.
A digital version is now available, on the DVD advertised on the Publications Page,
click the button in the side menu.
Research copies of the book are also available to view
in the Hull Central Lending Library,
and at local school libraries,
for all who have an interest in learning more about a district
that pre-dates the City of Hull by several hundred years.
Other bibliography and publications of local and
general East Yorkshire interest are also
generally available at the above locations.
Any clergy or parish office links and numbers
you see are, in the main, for
Pastoral and Admin purposes:
If you have any Family History Enquiries,
please do go to our
FAMILY HISTORY RESOURCE
where Rob will do his best to help you.
+ + +
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