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St James Church

St James is described as one of North Cray's 'best kept secrets' and is located in a conservation area at the edge of Foots Cray Meadows.

St James Church - Foots Cray

The origin of St James Church is unknown, a reference to it appears as early as the 12th Century. The current building dates from 1852 and although it is Victorian, many ancient features have been included such as the dark 'horsebox' pews, which give the impression or a much older building.

More recently restoration work also took place in the 1950's following damage caused by bombs during World War II. At the entrance to the churchyard is a Celtic cross in memory of those who gave their lives in both the First and Second World Wars (see photo).

Lord Vansittart lived here, and several members of his family are buried in the churchyard. He was the British Ambassador in Berlin and his funeral service at St James was one of the best attended on record.

St James also hosts memorials to Octavia Lady Ellenborough, sister of statesman Lord Castlereagh, former British Foreign Secretary and to Elizabeth, daughter of William Bowes who was Lord Mayor of London in the early sixteenth century.

The organ, described as being 'more functional than decorative' was played by John Sims Reeves (often just called Sims Reeves) when he was just fourteen. Sims later became one of the foremost English tenor vocalists of the Victorian era.

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