St James of Compostela, Cameley Road, Cameley, Bristol
Although termed as redundant, a few services are still held each year at St James, normally Easter Day, Ascension Day, St James Day, Harvest, Armistice Day and a Christmas Carol Service. Details are displayed at the Church and advertised in the local press. The Churchyard is still open for burials.
The Church of St James is in the tiny village of Cameley and dates from the late 12th century. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building and is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. The church was declared redundant on 1 January 1980, and was vested in the Trust on 18 March 1981. If you would like to visit the Church please contact Fiona Medland 01761 425959.
There are fragments of wall paintings on the nave north and south walls dating from the 12th to the 17th centuries. One of the earliest is a jester or knave on the north wall who has a hare-lip and forked tongue and is holding a scroll. The north post of the chancel arch has a depiction of the three lions of the Royal Arms of England, which suggests royal patronage. On the south post is a coat of arms with two red chevrons, which is believed to be of the St Maur family (which later became the Seymour family). Almeric de St Maur was master of the Knights Templar in England and a signatory on the Magna Carta. This arms represents evidence of the link between Cameley and Temple Cloud to the Knights Templar.
The fine early-17th-century representation of the Ten Commandments over the chancel arch is framed in twining leaves with cherubs' faces peering out. These remained hidden behind whitewash until the 1960s leading John Betjeman to describe it as "Rip Van Winkle's Church".
The west gallery is dated 1711 but with Jacobean style balusters and attached Charles I coat of arms. The south gallery is dated 1819. There are two early-19th-century monuments to the Rees-Mogg family on the north wall of the nave, and a brass plaque commemorating the nine people from the village who died in World War 1.
The tower, probably from the 15th century with 19th-century restoration, is built of red Mendip stone which contrasts with the local blue lias limestone of the rest of the church. The tower contains a bell dating from 1779 and made by William Bilbie of the Bilbie family. Several of the monuments in the churchyard are Grade II listed. Visit the Churches Conservation Trust website at www.visitchurches.org.uk