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History of Birdham parish

The parish of Birdham is on the Manhood Peninsula in the civic district of Chichester. The nearest harbour to St James church is Chichester harbour. Birdham Pools, which is pictured above is also close to the church. Birdham derives its name from the old English ‘bridd’ and ‘ham’ meaning a settlement for young birds.

St James church

Before the 19th century Birdham church was dedicated to St Leonard. In the Victorian era it was dedicated to St James. We celebrate St James patronal on the Sunday closest to 25 July. The church is a grade I listed building and was built in the 14th century.  The nave and aisles are the oldest part of the building. The tower was mainly built in the mid-16th century. The chancel was reconstructed in C19. The basic outline of broad, low aisles and low rounded doorways suggest that St James was originally built in C12. The architect G M Hills began restoration work of the church in 1863. Hills reconstructed the chancel with C14 style windows. In 1882 he returned to restore the nave, tower, and south porch. The church font is octagonal and was installed in 1884. St James church has one window above the altar which was created by M C F Bell. The window was commissioned by Peter Wood in 1978. It references the miraculous catch of fish (John 21 1:14) and also Birdham village. Look out for Peter’s boat, a combine harvester and Chichester cathedral in the background of the window.

The St James community centre

The St James centre adjoins St James church. The centre was completed in May 2019 and has a spectacular glass facade. The full height contemporary window was designed by Mel Howse. Her craftsmanship and artistry were recognised by the Sussex Heritage trust, who awarded the community centre in July 2019. The centre is staffed by volunteers that host lots of community activities.

You can find out more about St James church Birdham here.

You can research the history of St James church, stained glass window here.

St James, Birdham church is open during the hours of daylight every day.

Address: St James Church, Church Lane, Birdham, PO20 7HG.

Toilet facilities: two gender neutral toilets, one of which is disabled and has a baby changing station, are available onsite at the St James Centre which adjoins St James church.

Parking: is available behind St James church in the one-way continuation of Church Lane.

Giving to St James church: Please use this link to make an online donation to St James church.

Giving to the St James Community Centre: Please use this link to make an online donation to the St James Community Centre.

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