ST. James' Church Welcome to the Parish ST. James' Church


Parish Church of Norton Canes - Staffordshire

These pages were last updated on June 14th 2019.


St James' Church is committed to Safeguarding and has adopted the National and Diocesan Safeguarding Policies. Our Safeguarding Coordinator is Mrs Kim Lloyd and can be contacted on 01922 413718, email


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Position of Norton

General Information

Pictures of St. James'
Church Leaders Services & Activities A Brief History
Our Patron Saint Forthcoming Events Links to other Sites and information about this site

Position of Norton Canes

Norton Canes is a village of several thousand houses about half a mile north of the A5 (Watling Street) between Brownhills and Cannock. The parish is in the Lichfield Diocese and the Rugeley Deanery. The church and rectory are in Church Road just off Norton Hall Lane.

If you wish to see a map of the area in a separate window please click on the links below:-

Large scale map of the area (1:10,000) showing the main streets.
Small scale map of the whole area (1:25,000) showing the position of Norton.


General Information

Over the past 100 years life in Norton has changed in many ways. Looking briefly at the village, there has been a growth in population, schooling, medical facilities, shops and many village activities - far too many to mention. There are more children and they have organisations which didn't exist 100 years ago. Today, we have the Scout and Guide Movements and many of the youngsters and leaders attend church once each month.

Instead of the Church School of 100 years ago the village has two Primary/Junior Schools, and there is also a High School. There are good links between St. James' Church and all the Schools.

Many of the children visit the church from time to time. Sometimes youngsters from the organisation help to lead worship and children are encouraged as much as possible to come to church.

The laity as a whole are encouraged to take an active part in the services and we have a team of servers and a flourishing choir, a band of bellringers and members of the church help with the visiting of the housebound and bereaved. At Harvest time gifts are delivered throughout the village.

St. James' Church is part of a lively community which has its joys and sorrows - and with God's help will prosper in the next century.

Pictures of St. James' Church

A large number of pictures of the church have now been added.
Click on thumbnails to see large pictures (20Kb - 37Kb).

The Altar

The Crib & Font

The Lady Chapel

The Nave and Altar

The Organ on the left
A view of the Tower
The Christmas Tree

Sketch of Church
The Chancel The Church in the distanceThe Lady Chapel A view from Church Road

Church Leaders

Our Rector - Fr. Neil Hibbins


Priest / Leader


Telephone Number
RectorFr. Neil Hibbins 01543 278969
Church Wardens Kim Lloyd-
Ann Eden-
Parish ClerkMary Carpenter01543 275296 Email:




Sunday8.00 amMass
8.00 amBCP (first Sunday of month only)
10.30 amFamily Mass
6.00 pmEvening Services when announced
Monday9.00 amMass as announced
Tuesday10.00 amMass as announced
Wednesday11.00 amMass
Thursday7.00 pmMass
Friday9.00 amMass as announced
Additional services may be arranged on Special Days

Weddings, Baptisms and confessions by arrangement with the Rector  



The activities which take place at St. James' are many and varied.
To give you some idea, here is list of a number of them.

    Bell Ringers, Choir, Ladies' Group, Men's Group,
    Mothers' Union, Prayer Group, Playgroup, Scouts,
    Cubs, Beaver Scouts, Brownies, Rainbows, Sunday School

To find out more about these and other activities
please contact the Church Office or the Rector.



A Brief History of St. James'

The Early Years

The earliest mention of a church in Norton is in the Doomsday Book. The church was almost certainly a thatched Saxon building, erected for the use of pilgrims on their way to St. Chad's Shrine at Lichfield. St. James is the Patron Saint of Pilgrims and Norton is just about a days walk from the Catherdral.

The history of St. James in medieval days is hard to trace. The church was apparently rebuilt in the 14th century, and some of the red coloured stones are still visible at the base of the tower, but little more is known.

In common with many churches St. James suffered at the hand of Oliver Cromwell's men. After the Restoration of Charles II the church was rebuilt. The interior of this church at this time probably had a large three decker pulpit and box pews. In 1831 this church was found dilapidated and was pulled down and a new building put on the site.

The Growth of the Village

It was during the middle years of the 19th century that Norton began to change from an agricultural village centered around the church, and the old Fleur-de-Lys to an industrial village centered around the coal mines running along the road from Cannock to Brownhills.

Small terraces of houses were built in the area for an expanding population, and the church of 1831 was found to be inadequate.

In the 1870's work began to enlarge the church made possible by a gift from Mrs McPherson of Little Wyrley.

An organ was added and in 1887 bells were installed in the tower as a momento of Queen Victoria's Jubilee.

One can imagine the shock and horror when just a few weeks later on the 17th January, 1888 a disastrous fire broke out which left just the tower with its new peal of bells standing.

The Fire of 1888

There is some uncertainty about how the fire started, but it is possible that an oil lamp kept burning in the organ chamber to keep damp away may have been the cause of the trouble. The fire brigade took two hours to come from Walsall and no sooner had the hose been connected than it split.

Villages tried to save the building and the Wash Brook was dammed by local children, but the bucket chain proved insufficient and by evening the roof of the main building had fallen to the ground. The next day many sightseers were attracted from Cannock and the local policeman had to stand guard to prevent pilfering.

Little was saved from the old building apart from some of the memorial tablets which can still be seen in the present church and the parish records. For the next nine months Sunday Services were held in the school room which stood on the site of the present Church Hall.

The Building of the New Church

It is quite remarkable that the new church was ready for use by the 22nd October of the same year. It seems that the whole community was stirred into action. The financial loss caused by the fire was considerable. Insurance money amounted to £1,300 and a further £700 was raised by public subscription which a century ago was a considerable sum.

In addition many of the fittings were donated by individuals.

On the 22nd October 1888, the new church was dedicated by the Bishop of Shrewsbury. The Cannock Advertiser reported favourably on the new church making special mention of the "noiseless wooden floor blocks" and the "hot water apparatus".

Today the blocks are not quite so noiseless, but the hot water pipes are still doing good service with the help of the new boiler.

The Present Century

With just a few small changes and the notable addition of a fine War Memorial Window in 1927 St. James Church remained in much the same state until the 1970's. Over the last few years a lot of work has been done such as major repairs to the roof, the tower, the organ, the electrical supply system, the heating system, and the addition of a small kitchen and toilet in 1983. Other alterations have been made which reflect the changing pattern of worship within the Church of England.

When St. James was first opened Matins and Evensong were the main services, and the Holy Communion was celebrated for a small congregation in the early morning. The arrangement of the choir stalls in the Chancel with the Altar placed under the east window reflected this reality.

In 1973 it was decided to reorder the interior of the building to bring the altar and choir forward so that during the celebration of Holy Communion a greater sense

of unity and involvement could be achieved between priest, choir and people.

Since that time many gifts have been presented to the church including vestments, altar frontals, an amplification system, a fine vestry screen, a wrought iron font and many other small items which serve to enrich our worship. In the last few years people have been especially generous reflecting the same concern for the well being of our village church which was expressed during the rebuilding 109 years ago.

The Future

The present state of St. James Church is a tribute to the people who care for the building and use it as a place of worship.

In the years to come Norton may expand in size once again, and St. James' Church will be there with doors open to welcome people as it has always done.

The Historic Records
Historic records of St James the Great, Norton Canes have been deposited at Staffordshire Record Office, where they are available for consultation by the public. These include the parish registers of baptisms 1567-2001, marriages 1567-1992, and burials 1567-1951.

A catalogue of these records is available in "Gateway to the Past" - the online catalogue of the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service. The Archive Service's website provides further information on planning a visit to the office to consult records, should you wish to do so.


Our Patron Saint

St. James the Great was the brother of St. John, and like him a fisherman. Jesus chose him to be a witness of his Transfiguration and Agony in the Garden. He was the first of the apostles to be martyred, being put to the sword by order of King Herod.

Tradition claims that St. James visited Spain, and preached the Gospel there. After his martydom his body was brought there. His shrine at Santiago de Compostela was one of the greatest centres of pilgrimage in Christendom; it is still much visited.

St. James' emblems are the pilgrim's hat and the scallop-shell associated with Compostela. His feast day is the 25th July.

St. James is also the patron saint of pilgrims. The journey of our life is like the journey of a pilgrimage. May the prayers of St. James support us on our way.

Forthcoming Events -

New events will be added in the near future.



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Fr. Neil Hibbins.

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