In 1855 the churchwardens decided to cut an offertory box into the wall and unwittingly sliced through the top of the Stoup.
Many Norman Churches were built with Apses, but the majority were squared-off in later construction.
Look to the right in the Sanctuary, you will see a Piscina: In the Sanctuary wall there is an arched recess, known as a Piscina.
This is where the Sacred Vessels are cleansed after Holy Communion.
St James’ is an ancient Grade-1 listed Church and a sense of wonder will always develop when you think that people have been worshipping on this site for nearly a thousand years.
No one is really sure when people first began to gather on the high ground at Finchampstead to give praise.
It is easy to imagine how, standing on the hill and viewing the countryside around, they felt closer to God.It is quite possible that some form of worship goes back to pagan or pre-christian times.The original St James’ church building was created by Sir Alard Banestra with the help of monks from Reading Abbey and local Villeins and surfs, etc.Dates vary, probably due to the long period of years it took to build the original church but it is thought to have been started in the 1120’s and completed in about 1134. Just inside the main door standing by the Font: Here you can see the most ancient part of the Church – and the first intriguing historical puzzle.Simple Saxon Churches were improved by the later Normans who engaged in an intensive programme of building throughout the land. The font is certainly older than any other part of the building. The base is believed to have been built around 1855.If you look left you will see in the wall a Holy Water Stoup: This dates back to pre-Reformation times and was only discovered in 1915.