St James Church, Temple Sowerby

St James is one of three Churches in the Kirkby Thore Benefice and included in the ‘Heart of Eden’ Team Ministry.  The other two Churches in the Benefice are: St Michaels, Kirkby Thore and St Edmund, Newbiggin.  Our Church is situated on the edge of the main village green and opposite the Victory Hall.

Rector:  Reverend Clive Hicks 01768 254409
The Rectory, Long Marton, Appleby in Westmorland, Cumbria CA16 6BN.

Church Organist – Maeve Moore 017683 62005
Secretary – Mrs Anne Farmer 017683 61770
Treasurer – Mrs Helen Morgan 017683 61761
Church Warden – Mrs Angela Cleasby 017683 61534
PCC Member – Mrs June Cawley 017683 61094
PCC Member – Mrs Laura Crackanthorpe 017683 61823


Details of current Church Services can be found HERE.

3rd Sunday at 10.45 am – Family Communion
Coffee or Tea is served 10.15 am onwards
When a 5th Sunday occurs the service is rotated within the Benefice.

Newsletter: For latest Heart of Eden Parish Newsletter Click Here

Food Bank: – The Church is a collection point for our local Food Bank. If you are able to donate any non-perishable items to help support those in need we would be very grateful. There is a green container behind a fence to the right the Church Porch where your donations can be left. Thank you.

The History of Parish Church Of St. James

The Church was built in 1770 on the site of the Old Chapel of Ease. The parishioners carried the stone from the Crowdundle Quarry. The Lord of the Manor, Sir William Dalston of Acorn Bank, paid for the building work. The date of the Old Chapel of Ease is uncertain, but it was known to have been in existence in the 14th century, when in c.1338, it was a small stone chapel set in a half acre churchyard. Quite possibly there was a Chapel of Ease on the site even before this one dating from 1280.

Rev. Robert Harrison was the Curate from 1803-1834 during which time the Church Tower was built in 1814.  He is known for collecting and documenting musical tunes, he was thought to play the flute and violin.  The book has around 579 musical pieces and is one of the largest of this type of collection.

In 1875/77 the Church was rebuilt (except the Tower) at a cost of £1,188 raised by subscription.

From 1893 until 1922 the Rev. Anderson lived at The Grange, and then the house now known as Stonehurst became the residence of the local vicar. The church lectern was given in memory of Dr Stevenson who died in 1931. The organ came from the Royal Albert Hospital, Lancaster, in 1947 and was installed in memory of Fanny Blamire who lived at Acton Lodge, and was employed by Mr. P.T.B. Browne, Chief Constable of Cumberland & Westmorland Constabulary. Mrs. McGrigor Phillips, who died in 1967, left money in her Will for new oak pews and a pulpit. Dr & Mrs. A.E. Ainscow donated flower stands, a table and a notice board.

The East window was unveiled on 29th March 1925 and dedicated by the Bishop of Carlisle and consists of three lights depicting the crucifixion.

Made by Whitefriars Glass Company and installed by public subscription as a memorial to those who fell in the World War, bearing the inscription “The Great War 1914 – 18 John Dalston Boazman. Rex Jefferys, George Little, James graham Maclagan, Philip Whiteside Maclagan, Killed in action R.I.P.. Their name liveth for evermore”

There is one Commonwealth War Grave in the churchyard, that of John (Jack) William Laycock, son of Richard and Edith Laycock.  He served with the Royal Artillery and died aged 37 in April 1943.  The headstone also mentions his brother Norman Laycock, who was killed in Belgium in October 1944 aged 36.  There is a bench on the village green presented in memory of Jack and Norman Laycock, as well as Robert Pearce who also lost his life in the Second World War.  The memorial plaque in the Church lists the five people who lived in the Parish and lost their lives during this war.  Also listed are Ethel Alderson and Graham Hayes.

Pupils from Victoria Jubilee School, Newcastle-on-Tyne, were evacuated to Temple Sowerby during the 1939/45 War and were taught by Headmistress, Miss Bates and Assistant Teacher, Mrs. Barker, in the Victory Hall which was not altogether suitable. The then Vicar, Rev. G. Harding, conceived the idea that an old barn at the rear of the Vicarage should be used as a schoolroom and a Church Hall. He received great support from the village people. The official opening took place in March 1941 and was attended by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Newcastle-on-Tyne. The Lord Mayor said he had come to pay a compliment to the people of Temple Sowerby for looking after their children.

After Temple Sowerby was united with the Parish of Kirkby Thore, the Vicarage was sold and used as a Land Army Hostel during the 1939-45 War. The Church Hall was used as a school canteen for many years before being sold in the 1990s.

In 1995 an exchange visit for one year was arranged when Rev. Ian McLoughlin went to Taralga, New South Wales, Australia, and Rev. Colin Place from Taralga, took the services at Kirkby Thore, Temple Sowerby and Newbiggin Churches.

0n 18th and 19th September 1999 a Millennium Fund Raising event was held in the Church when Mary & Alice O’Keeffe organised ‘A Wedding has been Arranged’. Bridal fashions through the ages were on display which covered 150 years and featured some 90 wedding outfits loaned by 69 families. The interior of the church was decorated with bridal gowns, floral arrangements, wedding cakes and presents. Organists played throughout the two days. The oldest bridal gown, dating from 1849, was a tiny brown velvet dress. It is still a tradition today in the village that following a marriage ceremony the Church gates are tied by the local children who demand ‘a ransom’ before allowing the newlywed couple to leave.

In 2003 a “Celebration in Flowers” took place in St. James’ Church, which was organised by local resident Mrs. Dorothy Allen and raised money for the refurbishment of Temple Sowerby Victory Hall. There were 12 displays in all, each representing a special day throughout the year, from Burns’ Night and Valentine’s Day through to Bonfire Night and Christmas. Some years later a repeat event featured flower arrangements from each of the many sport and leisure groups within the village.

In September 2018 a Concert, Exhibition and Church Service were organised to remember the Great War. The Victory Hall had opened in 1922 as a memorial to those lost in the war. The exhibition had displays of relevant family records and many remarkable items from the First World War were displayed. It reminded us of just how many families were affected by, and had members involved in “The Great War”.

In addition to a Remembrance Service, a special “Concert of Memories” was held in the Church with songs from the war, poems, as well as a piper and a bugler. The Church was decorated with many handmade poppies.