Designed and endowed by James Audus, the prominent local philanthropist and amateur architect, St James' was consecrated on 11th December 1867. His aim was to provide a local church for the ordinary people of Selby free of 'pew rents' charged by Selby Abbey at that time. It soon became known as 'The Railwaymen's church.'
St. James' is a good example of the principles and taste of the Ecclesiological Society and an outstanding achievement by a little-known amateur. It is in early English style, with richly "Ecclesiological" interior. Fittings include exterior boarded doors with ornamental wrought iron hinges; an exceptional wood and brass lectern; marble reredos; good woodwork, especially the characteristically mid-19th century clerks' desks and stalls; very distinctive and delicate ironwork surrounding pulpit and incorporated into the communion rail.The tower west window has glass by the renowned Belgian stained-glass painter Jean Baptiste Capronnier.
In 1944 a Halifax bomber returning from a training flight crashed into the spire, tragically resulting in the death of all seven crew and six local residents. The tower was rebuilt but without a spire.
The church is open to visitors on Monday mornings from 10.30am -12.30pm for prayer, reflection or just to take a look!
A New Roof!
In 2017 the south roof was replaced, along with some stone work in early 2018. This was only possible thanks to a major grant from the Government-funded Listed Places of Worship: Roof Repair Fund, as well as smaller grants from Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust and the Diocese of York.
The Listed Places of worship scheme is a funding package of £22.9 million to 401 historic places of worship across the UK. The fund was launched by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement in December 2014 and the funding package has now seen a total of 903 places of worship across the UK receive a share of £55 million.
The Fund is administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) on behalf of the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).
The Standering Hall was originally built as a Church Hall for St James’ in 1913, named after Miss Standering who paid for its construction. Subsequently, extensions have been added over the years proving St James’ with a number of rooms and halls. The large and small hall are available for hire, as well as a well-equipped kitchen.
The hall had suffered from a lack of maintenance over several decades but in 2008 we received funding from WREN to begin the refurbishment of the building. A new heating system was installed and the kitchen and toilets were completely refurbished. In December 2009 we were offered matched funding by the Holbeck Charitable Trust to renovate the small hall and the work was completed in March 2012.
We are currently seeking funding to finish work on the main hall.
The hall is non-profit making and the rates we charge help to cover running and maintenance costs. We aim to provide a home for church groups, local groups and an affordable venue for people in our local community in the hope that many people will benefit from the new and improved facilities.
If you would like to enquire about hiring the hall please email
With thanks to Steven Berrisford for most of these images. The copyright remains with Mr Berrsiford. Please do not use these images without seeking permission.
The following file shows photos of the south roof as it is being replaced.