The Nave

The nave is the central open space of the church, the main aisle, where the congregation sits during services. The word nave comes from the Latin word navis which means ship, the root of the English word navigation. 

The nave is divided from the side aisles by ten columns which support the church roof. Each column is topped by a carved stone capital representing flowers, leaves and fruits. They are all different and three are shown below.

The nave ceilingMany older churches have pitched roofs with supports in the shape of an upside down 'V'. This is particularly obvious in the nave at St James's where the roof timbers are like an upturned ship's hull, reminding us that St James was a fisherman. 

Once there were no seats in churches and the congregation stood or knelt. Later, in some churches, including St James, a few seats were attached to the wall for old and sick people, and from this comes the saying, "The weakest go to the wall". Fixed seats for all the people were introduced about the 15th century. At St James’s these wall fixed seats were removed in 2019 when the new radiators were positioned under the windows. The central fixed pews were removed in 2022 and replaced with smaller moveable pews and single chairs to provide the flexible seating. There are hassocks or Kneelers, for people to kneel on during services.

Each pew had a shelf for people to rest their service and hymn books. Information cards, including welcome cards and planned giving envelopes, were permanently kept here for the congregation. Each pew also had several hassocks or Kneelers, for people to kneel on during services. The creation of a set of new kneelers was a millennium project for the church. It involved a group of women who used their talents and artistic energy to give something lasting to the church.

The Pulpit stands at the east end of the nave. The Lectern also stands here but on the north side. At the west end of the nave a memorial hangs on the wall on the north side of the west entrance. 

The audio-visual system includes a big screen and an upgrade of the sound system with replacement speakers, state-of-the-art stereo microphones, headsets for clergy and a new induction loop for anyone with a hearing aid. The screen can be used to show films, the words of hymns or for a sermon. A camera has also being installed, making it possible to webcast services or concerts. The equipment is operated from a console desk at the back of the nave where there is a digital mixing desk and a laptop to power the audio visuals. To enhance concerts and musical events special and coloured lights with lighting effects have been added.. 

High above the nave at the entrance to the chancel is a tiny window depicting the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove (c1909). The Great West Window at the west end of the nave depicts the 'Transfiguration of Christ' (c1882). To see all these windows, more detailed pictures and information about them look at the page The Nave Stained Glass Windows.

Find out more

The Nave Stained Glass Windows
The Lectern
The Pulpit
The History of St James's Church Buildings

The nave

The console The memorial Stone capitals The lectern The pulpit


Powered by Church Edit