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St James the Great, New Bradwell, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire

(52°3′56″N, 0°47′36″W)
New Bradwell, Milton Keynes
SP 828 415
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Buckinghamshire
now Milton Keynes
  • Ron Baxter
06 September 2014

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Feature Sets

The settlement of New Bradwell is on the northern edge of Milton Keynes, but unlike many of the Milton Keynes villages it is of relatively recent date. It was begun in 1852 to provide housing for workers at the railway works founded in 1838 at nearby Wolverton. St James’s was built in 1857-60 to satisfy their spiritual needs, and designed by G. E. Street, who also provided the design for the addition of the N aisle in 1897. It consists of an aisled nave of 4 bays with the W bay of the N aisle distinguished as the base of the NW tower. This was never completed in ashlar; it rises to a height of approximately 7m and is topped by a timber turret with a spire, intended to be temporary. The chancel has a S chapel and a timber N vestry. In 1956 the roof of the abandoned church of St Peter, Stantonbury (qv) collapsed, and the chancel arch was removed to preserve it. At some time in the 1960s (c1963 according to the List Description, 1969 according to Folwell and Cooper (2010)) it was installed here as an interior surround to the W doorway.


The medieval history of New Bradwell is irrelevant to this sculpture and readers are referred to the entry on St Peter's Stantonbury.


Exterior Features



This spectacular arch is a highlight of Romanesque Buckinghamshire. VCH (1927) describes it in-situ at Stantonbury as ‘small chancel arch’ and ‘a beautiful and fairly well preserved example of Norman work of about 1150’, and the detailed description that follows matches the present arch well. Writing in 1960 Pevsner noted only that the Norman chancel arch had been removed from Stantonbury; it had not been installed in New Bradwell church at that date. The 1976 list description confines itself to formal description. Pevsner and Williamson (1994) describe the arch as impressive but give the erroneous information that it was brought here early in the 20thc. The editors must have wondered why, in that case, Pevsner did not mention it in 1960.

The beakhead ornament and confronted lion capitals point to a distant connection with Reading Abbey. Locally beakhead and chevron are found in combination at Twyford on the S doorway which also has a capital with confronted fighting beasts.


English Heritage Listed Building 45641

D. Folwell and J. Cooper, St. James Church, New Bradwell: Celebrating 150 years (Church Guide), New Bradwell 2010.

N. Pevsner, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire.London 1960, 241 (Stantonbury), 300 (New Bradwell).

N. Pevsner and E. Williamson, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire. London 1960, 2nd ed. 1994, 540-41.

Victoria County History: Buckinghamshire. IV (1927), 462-66 (Stantonbury).