St James the Less, Westminster

 St James the Less was built in the late 1850s by three sisters, Jane, Penelope and Mary, to honour the memory of their father, Bishop James Henry Monk. The parish of St James was a poor area, housing about 31,000 people in a collection of slums and tenements. The Monk sisters acquired land from Westminster Abbey and commissioned George Edmund Street as the architect, who was later to design the Law Courts (in London, on the Strand) and Bristol Cathedral.   The stained glass is primarily by Clayton and Bell, well-respected glassmakers in the Victorian period. One of the most striking pieces they created is in the East window. It portrays both the Old Testament and New Testament versions of several incidents from scripture, one above the other. The two clerestory windows to the right and left of the chancel arch were designed by Street himself. Above the arch to the chancel is the mosaic known as ‘Christ in Glory’ by Watts. Originally this was a mural of Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but it deteriorated over a period of twenty years and was replaced by Watts in the form of the current mosaic. Another notable piece is the pulpit, designed by Thomas Earp, and ornately carved, although rather damaged by water: it is hoped to restore it in the coming years.