St James New Church, Maison Dieu Road, c.1870 from carte de visite 

New St James Church

ST.JAMES’ NEW CHURCH    The foundation stone of St.James’ new Church was laid on the 10 April 1860 by J.P.Plumptre Esq., Deputy Lord Warden, the Mayor and Corporation attending in state to grace the ceremony.*  The interest aroused was very great.  Mr W. Moxon, the man of the hour, was the builder of the church but, unfortunately, before he had completed it, financial difficulties overclouded his prospects, and the finishing was delegated to Messrs Fry and Pepper.   The vane on the top of St James’ handsome steeple was fixed by the late Mr Steriker Finnis on the 25th July 1861, and the building was consecrated by the Bishop of Sierra Leone on the 20 August 1862.


                                  St James New Church Interior (Dover Express photograph)

St James’ Church is the principal building in Maison Dieu Road.  The edifice is a very fine example of the Early Decorated style of Gothic architecture, from the designs of Mr Talbot Bury.   Its cost was £10,000 and it provides accommodation for 1400 persons.  The walls are of Kentish rag, with external dressings of Bath and internal of Caen, stone.   The length of the church is 134-ft. and its width 78-ft., and is composed of a nave, side aisles, and a chancel, with an organ chapel on the south side and a vestry on the north.  The colonnade of clustered shafts supporting the graceful arches of the nave have their effect rather marred by the galleries, but otherwise the whole of the interior has a very pleasing appearance.   The tower, a commanding feature of the west front, is surmounted by a spire and cross, which rises to 144-ft. and, viewed from the upper part of the Maison Dieu Road, gives a picturesque effect.
….  Before the end of 1866 the road had been lined with villas, with the exception of the east side below the nursery, where only one pair of houses, Temple Villas, had been erected.  …  About 1866 Mr Philip Stiff bought the land between the glass house (‘miniature Crystal Palace’) and the site of the Catholic Church, and in 1867 had built Maison Dieu Lodge and the next pair of villas below.  At that time the Catholic Church was in the course of erection, but it was twenty years later before the remaining plots between the two churches were filled…”  (Dover by J.Bavington Jones, 1907)

[* From the Accounts for the building of new St James' Church we read that the expenses in laying foundation stone were £3. 11s. 4d.  Some of the main expenditure in the building of the church was as follows:  July 1861, and 1862:  W.Moxon contractor for work executed under Contract for building church up to the time of his failure:  £4,398. 1s. 9d;    Works executed subsequently in completing Walls and Roof of the church   £1707.  7s. 4d;    Messrs Fry and Pepper contract for pewing, galleries etc £2071. 4s. 8d;   Fry and Pepper for enclosure walls £310.  6s. 3d;   Hart & Son for Gas Fittings, Iron fencing etc:  £580.  2s. 8d;   Carver: £152.  9s. 6d;  Holmes for Painting and Staining £178. 11s.   Clerk of Works £338.  12s. 8d;   East window expenses: £41. 15s.   Architect, commission etc  £788.  9s. 7d.   Warming contract  £200;    Naylor & Co.  Bells etc £54.  2s. 8d;  .... etc.]         

Demolished:   New St James’ Church was made redundant and demolished, after the Second World War.

     St James' Church Choir 1929
Photograph by kind permission - Margaret Hancock

                                                              St James' Church Choir 1929
        A S Polglase               K W Browning,          J Kirton,          J Ewell,         A D Dewar     G S Willis
A J O Pique,    J J Polglase,    V F Wetton,         A J Bond,      D W Knott,     F J Simpson,     J E Richards
E R Perkins,     D Douse,    J Polglase,    B F Willis,    MA Rev. E A Cook MA,    E R Jezard,     L Kochy,
                                                              M W M Bushell,     R Delahye
R Knowles,    C Godden,       L R Weir,     G B Donald,     L Charlwood,   C A Richards,   S A Poleglase,   S Hope 

                                                    St James' Church Choir ( date ? )

Photograph by kind permission - Margaret Hancock

                                        Please Email:
                              if you know the date or anyone in the above St James' Choir