St James' Church sits high on the side of a hill overlooking Brassington village, overlooking it's narrow streets and fine old buildings. The view from the church porch is worth the climb, but once you go inside there is much to see.
It is essentially a Norman church with a fine south arcade of 3 bays, south chancel aisle of 2 bays, a later north aisle, and a Norman tower. The south porch is 13th century as proved by its outer doorway.
Like the church itself the font is of Norman origin (between 1066 to approx 1200 AD). It was originally built into the south wall, but was given a new base and moved to its current location when the church was restored and enlarged in Victorian times.
The church was expanded and partially rebuilt in 1880. The north aisle with its marble columns is a product of this work, as is the wall behind the altar with its rose window.
One of the features of the Chancel (the area containing the choir stalls and altar) is the Jacobean oak Bishops Chair carved with the arms of the Cavendish family, the painted Royal Coat of Arms. It is unusual for its large size and the fact that it was not over painted with the arms of the new monarch after the death of George III.
In the Lady Chapel there is a painting of Jesus is believed to be the work of a local craftsman (who may also have painted the Coat of Arms in the Chancel). It was rediscovered in a pile of junk at the back of the church. Architecturally the Lady Chapel is distinctive in that it is most unusual to find a chancel with an aisle.
The arcading in the South Aisle here, together with the Tower, represent the main original elements of the building, dating back to Norman times. Look out for the characteristic round Norman arches, the massive stone columns and the simple but vigorous carving of the capitals above the columns.
On one of the capitals, you will see that a shell is incorporated in the design. This is a symbol of St James, Patron Saint this church.