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St James the Great, Ruscombe, Berkshire

(51°28′48″N, 0°51′8″W)
SU 798 763
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Berkshire
now Wokingham
medieval Salisbury
now Oxford
  • Ron Baxter
20 April 1997, 08 November 2013

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Feature Sets

Ruscombe is a village in the Thames Valley to the east of Twyford, between Reading and Maidenhead. It is close to the A4, but not so close that its village character is lost; in fact it lies on the minor road linking Twyford to Windsor, the B3024. The church stands in the village centre, and comprises a 12thc. flint chancel, brick nave and W tower of 1638-39. The only Romanesque features are a pillar piscina and the recut font.


Ruscombe is not mentioned in the Domesday Survey, but is recorded in 1091 in the foundation charter of Old Sarum, when 10 hides here were granted to the cathedral by Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury. Before 1209 it had become a prebend, held by the succentor of Sarum. The advowson remained with the cathedral until 1846. The dedication to St James is mentioned as early as 1220.




Piscinae/Pillar Piscinae


The Purbeck font dates from c.1200 at the earliest, and could well be 13thc. The pillar piscina is certainly older. The simple scallop capital could date from almost anywhere in the 12thc, but the tall attic base suggests an early date, perhaps in the 2nd quarter. This is one of the simplest of some ten pillar piscinas in the county.


N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. Harmondsworth, 1966, 208.

G. Tyack, S. Bradley and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Berkshire. New Haven and London 2010, 495-96.

Victoria County History: Berkshire III (1923), 203-06