About our church…

St James is located on the outskirts of Bourton in the direction of Bishopstone. It was founded and built in 1859 following the purchase of a plot of land by Mr T. Tucker, and its foundation stone was laid on August 8th of that year by Jane – Viscount Barrington.  Prior to this the village had no church, and villagers would meet in a hut at the bottom of The Hill to worship.

Bourton is a small village, but the church remains important both to the village which holds services there twice a month (normally first Saturday at 10am and third Sunday at 9am), and to Pinewood school, which holds regular services there when Saturday school is in session. Village services welcome adults and children alike to enjoy the service, followed by a catch up over coffee and biscuits.  Take a look at the events calendar on the village website for details of upcoming services and other events.

The highlight of year is our candlelit holy communion service on Christmas Eve at 6pm, where the village children dress up as various members of the nativity to build a living crib, along with mulled wine for the adults and the traditional handbells rung by the Shrivenham bell ringers.

The church needs your help!

Unfortunately, over the past two years we have noticed increasing problems in the church building including issues with damp, electrics, windows and stonework. This is unsurprising, given the last major restoration of the building was over 30 years ago. We have tried to deal with some of the issues by airing the church as much as possible to dry it out, but this has revealed further problems with the plasterwork.  In Autumn 2017 plaster started to fall from the ceiling, causing the church to be closed whilst emergency repairs were carried out.

The parish architect has advised that the whole building needs repointing to solve the damp problem, and then we will need to decorate the whole church as well as replacing a large section of plaster, overhauling the electrics and more than likely replacing some windows.

So, we need to start fundraising in earnest and we need the support of the whole village to get our little church back in shape.  St James’ has been an important landmark within the village for almost 160 years and remains a place for christenings, weddings, funerals as well as services.  It would be such a shame to lose all of this now.

Of course we already have some funds that we have saved over the years from our congregation, our contributions from Pinewood School and from those of you who already generously give a monthly donation. We are also planning to apply for a grant from Oxford Historic Churches Trust. BUT we estimate that we need to raise up to £50,000, so this is a big job, and will need the support of the whole village to make it happen.

Can you help?

To do all this we will need people’s time, money and skills.  There are loads of ways you can contribute, for example:

  • We are setting up a core team to lead the fundraising effort, so would ask you to raise your hand and get in touch if you’d like to get involved.
  • Would you like to organise your own event to raise money?  If so then do let us know.  Or maybe you can just let us know of any good fundraising ideas.
  • Do you have any practical skills that you could offer to help with our renovations, so we can undertake some of the work ourselves? Painter/ decorators, plasterers and builders in particular will be needed.
  • Perhaps you can make a simple donation?  If you’d like to donate, please make a cheque payable to PCC OF SHRIVENHAM WITH WATCHFIELD. Please write BOURTON FUND and your name and address on the reverse of the cheque and pop it over to Amanda (Tower House) or Sarah (Downland View).
  • Start giving regularly to the church:  if you would like to start a monthly direct debit to donate regularly to the church,  please contact us for the relevant information.

We’ll post details of fundraising events here on the website, as well as the progress we make with our fundraising efforts, but do get in touch if you have any ideas to support this worthy and important cause!


The main contacts for the church are :

Amanda Benbow (The Tower House) – Church Warden & Benefice PCC member
Sarah Howell (Downland View) – Church Warden & Benefice PCC member
Sarah.howell67@gmail.com or 07717 512000

You can visit the Shrivenham & Ashbury Benefice website here.