History

Our Church
The Church was built in the Gothic style with an impressive “hammer beam” roof. An organ was installed in 1883 and was hand pumped until 1937 when an electric blower was added. The single bell in the bell tower was installed in 1951 and is inscribed “Good people all, come when I call”.

The Octagon meeting room was added in 1985, the roof being kept low not to obstruct the light passing through the beautiful stained glass windows behind the altar. In 1995 a further extension was added behind the Octagon, together with a kitchen, thereby creating the Church Centre. This enabled extra space for Sunday School, larger meetings and also a weekday nursery school. In 2015 a covered outside play area was completed to enable the nursery school children to enjoy outside play all year round.

Inside the Church to the left of the entrance is a charming picturesque record of “Milestones on the Way of St James”. It is a summary of the Church’s history and was made for an exhibition in Guildford Cathedral in 1971 where it won first prize. The font is made in the simple Norman style and the pulpit was a 1930’s addition incorporating 3 panels from a much older pulpit said to have been used by John Wesley.

The altar was a gift from Mrs Bird, wife of a former vicar, in 1933. It was made by William Parratt of local oak; he also made the choir stalls but this time from imported Austrian oak which was softer and easier to carve. The altar rails date from 1690 but they are not the oldest part of the Church.

The chair on the north side of the altar is probably older still. The stained glass windows behind the altar were given in 1894 by the Rev and Mrs Arthur Parker. The theme is resurrection and each window tells a biblical story.

Local History
Rowledge is a village that borders on Alice Holt Forest and is unusual in that it straddles two counties, Surrey and Hampshire, with St James’ Church located in Hampshire, on the edge of the village.

Rowledge was formed in the 1860’s and is bounded to the north by the Bourne Valley, Wrecclesham and Boundstone, to the west by the Alice Holt Forest, and to the east and south by open countryside towards the villages of Frensham and Dockenfield. The name is believed to originate from the combination of two communities, Rowlridge and Rowditch.

Before 1869, The Rev Henry Julius, Vicar of Wrecclesham, suggested to the other clergy that it would bring stability and some supervision to the village if Rowledge had its own Church and Vicar. The Bishop agreed and a new parish was formed. The Church and original Vicarage were built in 1869/70 and the Church was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester, Dr Samuel Wilberforce,  in January 1871. Rowledge CE School was built in 1872.

Rowledge, the village, is mostly part of the Farnham and Wrecclesham ward within Waverley Borough Council. However, St. James’ Parish boundary does not coincide with the census boundaries and indeed includes parts of East Hampshire.

Total estimated population of the Parish (at the time of the 2011 census) is just over 2,400.

The population is believed to be continuing to grow due to new house-building and new  families moving into the Parish, often from London.

Advertisements