St. James the Great


Here is a brief history of St. James the Great which aims to give an impression and atmosphere of the
growth of the Parish rather than a systematic account. These snapshots, based on a variety of written sources,
leave many gaps. Not written here are the memories that Parish members carry in their minds and hearts,
those whose early faith journey began at St.James’ and those who joined the Parish later.
There is no attempt here to give a description of the initiatives, achievements and future plans of the
Parish at the present time in the year of its Centenary.

The Patron Saint of our Church.

There are three people called James in the Gospels. The apostle we call James the Great
was the son of Zebedee and one of the privileged three apostles, along with his brother John and Peter,
present at the Transfiguration and the Agony in the Garden. He was martyred by Herod early on, and
tradition has it that his relics were afterwards taken to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He is not the
same person as the James who was “the Lord’s brother” who presided over the council in Jerusalem years
afterwards and who is credited with authorship of the Letter of James. Nor is he James the son of Alphaeus,
another of the Twelve Apostles, “the Less”, but little is known of this one unless he is the same as
James the brother of the Lord. There is plenty written off the subject.

To know more, contact Parish Priest or read [more]

The Founder

The church of St. James the Great was built in 1904 from a bequest given
by Miss Frances Ellis (1846-1930). She had become a Catholic in 1901 and lived a
devout life following the spiritual exercises under taken by the Daughters of the Cross.
She financed about 46 church establishments altogether, with about 20 “Ellis churches” being
built in the developing dioceses of South London. the total cost for these in today’s terms
would be around 14 million pounds. She died, single, at Hayle Nursing home,
Devon (Daughters of the Cross) which she had obtained for them with her own money,
and was buried in the convent cemetery. She left instructions in her Will that a Mass should be
offered every month for all the deceased who had ever worshipped at St. James.

Parish Priests

Rev. William Alton 1904 – 1911
Rev. Reginald Pitts 1911 – 1918
Rev. Leo Fichter 1918 – 1927
Rev. Edward Larkin 1927 – 1933
Rev. Harold Knight 1933 – 1938
Rev. Thomas Cambourne 1938 – 1940
Rev. Thomas Smith 1940 – 1960
Rev. Edward Mahony 1960 – 1974
Rev Colm Acton 1974 – 1981
Rev. Gerard O’Brien 1981 – 1991
Rev. Raymund Brennan 1991 – 1997
Rev. Thomas McElhone 1997 – 2010

Parish Priest: Father Jack John Dillon

To know more, contact Parish Priest

St. James Parish Church devotional Prayer

In this prayer to Saint James the Apostle, brother of Saint John the Evangelist,
we ask for the strength to fight the good fight, as he did,
so that we may be worthy followers of Christ.

Prayer to Saint James the Apostle

O glorious Apostle, St. James, who by reason of thy fervent and generous heart wast chosen by Jesus to be a witness of His glory on Mount Tabor, and of His agony in Gethsemane; thou, whose very name is a symbol of warfare and victory: obtain for us strength and consolation in the unending warfare of this life, that, having constantly and generously followed Jesus, we may be victors in the strife and deserve to receive the victor’s crown in heaven. Amen.

St. James the Great  

Roman Catholic Church, Peckham Rye

Full Address/ Email:
45 Elm Grove
London, SE15 5DD UK.
Phone: 0207 639 1947 

© 2016 James Augustus.