A Walk through St. James' Church

Walk through the Lych Gate, up the path to the main door and into the Fellowship Area (1 below).

church interior plan

1        The Fellowship Area was made when the church was re-ordered in 1997. A plaque can be seen above the hatch. Looking through the doors into the nave of the church you would once have seen

Church Interior (pre WW1) Church interior detail (Pre WW1)

Please now pass round the church, starting on the north wall of the nave.

2        The stained glass window shows the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem. (See plaque on window ledge)

3        The commemorative plaque is to Walter Henry Jones who was a lay preacher and Sunday school teacher here.

4        At the opening of the church in 1851, the pulpit was at the right side of the chancel arch.

5        The vicar's chair dates from 1939 and was the gift of Mrs Matilda Gaskell in memory of her husband.

6        This plaque is in memory of the wife of the Rev. John Kershaw, the first vicar of this parish. She died, aged 42, in 1865. Also named are three of their young children who died aged 7 years, 4 years and 7 months respectively.

7        Two small stained glass memorial windows.

8        This electric organ replaced the old pipe organ (shown here) when the church was re-ordered in 1997.

The old pipe-organ

9        The beautiful East Window is a memorial to those who lost their lives in World War One. It was designed and made by Shrigley and Hunt from Lancaster. The window was donated by Henry Tyrer and Co., shipping brokers of Liverpool. The family lived locally and employed men from the village. The window shows figures and images of war but in the centre is the figure of Christ and his angels in heaven which symbolises the promise of life after death.

Memorial Window

10    High on the wall on either side of the altar are two Victorian wall paintings. The figure on the left side represents Jesus and the one on the right is St James carrying the traditional pilgrim’s bag.

Wall painting Christ Wall Painting - St. James

11    The wooden panels at either side of the reredos are a war memorial and they are inscribed with the names of the men of the parish who sacrificed their lives in the two World Wars.

12    According to a document in the Lancashire Archives, the carved altar is the original one dating from 1886.

13    Behind the altar is a reredos with four carved figures. These are all linked with Lindisfarne and the spread of Christianity in the Saxon era. From left to right: St Finan who built the first church on Lindisfarne, King Oswald king of Northumbria (he was later St Oswald), St Cuthbert Bishop of Lindisfarne, St Aiden Bishop of Lindisfarne.

Reredos figures

14    Inscribed on the wooden panels behind the organ and the choir stalls are the names of all the local servicemen who served in both World Wars. It is unusual for a church to have the names of all those who enlisted. There is also a reference to the men who enlisted at Lathom House which was probably the biggest remount depot in England in World War One.

15    The oak choir stalls date from 1939 and were given by Mrs Matilda Gaskell in memory of her husband who worshipped here. However, until the electric organ was installed, they were seldom used as the distance between them and the old pipe organ at the back of the church caused a time lag which caused problems for the choir.

16    The lectern with the traditional outspread eagle’s wings (carrying the word of God) dates from 1903 and was given by the parishioners in memory of the Rev. Kershaw. Originally it was on the left of the chancel arch, possibly because the oil lamps which lit the church were more plentiful on that side.

17    Ladies belonging to the church, made the inspiring millennium wall hanging to commemorate the year 2000. It depicts aspects of Westhead both in the present and in the past.

Millenium Wall Hanging more detail -->

18    Until 1997, the octagonal font was in the traditional place by the entrance to the church. It symbolised the entry of the baby into the Christian life so always used to be placed near to the door


19    The gloriously colourful modern stained glass window depicts the transition from old to new Westhead. It was made by Barbara Hallam of Stained Glass Experience. It was the first window to show a computer!

Millenium Window Further detail -->

20    The story of the good shepherd is the theme in this memorial window. It commemorates the death of the son of Ellen and James Mills. Samuel, aged 20, was lost in the wreck of the Anglo Saxon off the coast of Cape Race in 1863.

The Good Shepherd Window

21    This is the original Day and Sunday School banner. It was carried in the village processions. The earliest processions started in the 1860’s.