St James Church
St. James Church is a unique Jacobean village church. It dates from 1610 (celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2010) and was one of the first churches to be built after the Reformation. The church is dedicated to St. James, the fisherman from Galilee and patron saint of sailors - hence the ship weather-vane on the tower.
- Morning Worship is normally held every Sunday at 11.15am.
- The third Sunday of each month is a service of Holy Communion.
- There is an early morning Holy Communion every second Sunday of the month at 8.00 am.
- There is an Evening service on the first Sunday of each month at 5.00 pm.
St. James Fulmer has very close links with St James Gerrards Cross and you can find more information on both churches here. You can contact the Church Office (Angela Foy) on 01753 883311
Looking from the entrance to the far right corner of the church you will see the wooden Jacobean Font. This font is the original font of the church and dates from the early 17th century. It lay mutilated in the church tower for many years until rescued and restored by Clive Rouse F.S.A. in 1959. When the church underwent alteration in Victorian times, the Stone Font near the church door was built to replace the wooden Jacobean Font.
There are two Hatchments on the wall above and to the right. The one on the left would have been erected on the death of John Kaye of Fulmer Grove, formerly High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire and a benefactor of the church. The fact that both halves are in black shows he died a widower. The hatchment on the right refers to the Pollard Willoughby family who used to live in Fulmer. The black background on the left hand side shows the death of the husband Sir John Pollard Willoughby in 1860. The white background to Lady Willoughby's arms shows that she survived her husband.
The brickwork in the opposite (East) end of the church highlights the Victorian extensions. These were an enlarged chancel (choir), the choir vestry and later, the South Aisle. A modern vestry extension was added in 1971.
Now walk to the East end of the church where you will find The Darell Memorial. It is a splendid example of 17th century tomb art. The effigy of Sir Marmaduke lies complete with sword and wearing the armour that he would have worn on state occasions at that time. Next to him is the effigy of his wife, Dame Anne, wearing contemporary dress. Sir Marmaduke's crest - the hand of a Saracen - is placed at his feet and at Dame Anne's is a heraldic beast, both resting on ducal coronets. The Inscription on the tomb states that Sir Marmaduke Darell was the Lord of the Manor of Fulmer.
It was Sir Marmaduke Darell - when he was Lord of the Manor of Fulmer - who had the church built at his own expense. The ‘new’ church replaced a medieval church which stood at the far end of Hay Lane near the present buildings of Low Farm, “in moorish ground about half a mile north-west distant”.
At the base of the tomb are the figures of the Darell children and grandchildren, shown wearing the fashions of the time and in an attitude of prayer as was the custom.
Sir Marmaduke had an interesting career at the court of Queen Elizabeth I. He was present at the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. As Victualler to the Navy, he sent to the Queen the first news of the engagement of the English ships with the Spanish Armada. Sir Marmaduke continued in royal service as “Cofferer” or Paymaster to the first two Stuart kings - James 1 and Charles 1.
The window above the communion table is a Victorian triple stained glass window. In the centre is a representation of the Crucifixion. On the left you can see the Virgin Mary and Child over the text 'Unto you is born a Saviour'. On the right is the Resurrection 'In Christ shall all be made alive'. In the four stained-glass windows opposite the Darell tomb are the emblems of the four Evangelists: Matthew - the Angel; Mark - the winged lion; Luke - the winged ox; and John - the eagle.
Coming from the choir into the body of the church turn to the left and you will see the Memorial Corner. On the corner shelf is a Book of Remembrance listing those whose ashes are in the churchyard. Above the Vestry door are the names of those who gave their lives in the 1914-18 and 1939-45 world wars. The window to the right of the memorial corner is Victorian. The central portion depicts the story of the Good Samaritan, which probably illustrates Charity. It is flanked by others representing Faith and Hope. To its right is a memorial window that depicts the virtues of Humility and Charity. On the west wall (at the back of the South aisle) there is a window showing Jesus with the apostles Peter and John. In the west wall of the Tower there is an interesting window that was painted by G Hoadley of London in 1844. Below it, painted on the wall, are the Latin words “Veni Vide Tace” - translated “Come, watch and learn”.
If you look back towards the pulpit, the window to the left displays four roundels of early Flemish or German glass. It is thought that they depict the four Petrach Triumphs - Love and Fame on the left and Death and Chastity on the right. The arms of Sir Marmaduke Darell as well as those of Dame Anne's father, John Lennard, are also shown. On the left of the main entrance door there is another window showing the same crests, with a chalice, and a poised dove which represents the Holy Spirit.
Above the church's entrance door, on the inside, are the arms of James I who was King when the church was built. The medieval entrance door was taken from the first church, as was the treble bell. Looking at the door, you can see the hand-made nails, hammered over on the inside to secure them, and the old lock mechanisms.
There are six bells in the Tower. The treble bell came from the medieval church and is dated 1540. The second was cast in 1741 and the fourth and fifth bells date from 1617, only a few years after the church was built. The tenor and the third bell were added in 1884.