St. James' is pleasantly situated in an elevated position at Mytholm, which is part of Hebden Bridge. It is one of the many "Million Pound" Churches around the country.

In 1820, the Government of the day recognised that it was many years since any new churches had been built and that existing buildings were suffering the ravages of old age. There was a great need for new places of worship for the middle and lower classes, particularly in industrial areas where populations were increasing and where the rise of non-conformism was a worry for the government and the established church. An Act of Parliament was passed, promising £1,000,000 to build new churches in the developing towns. A further £500,000 was allocated in 1824, and plenty more by public subscription. The bulk of the money came out of compensation paid by the French government after the Napoleonic Wars, the irony being that the French paid for the building of many of our Church of England buildings. Christ Church and St. Paul's in Todmorden were two such churches. St. James at Mytholm was another. They were known as "Million Pound Churches". 

St. James was built on land and with stone donated by Rev. James Armitage Rhodes of Mytholm Hall and his wife. The Archbishop of York consecrated the church in 1833 and the first curate was Thomas Chandler Curties. The Rev. Rhodes, although always using the title of Reverend, never became a practising minister.

Initially, the church was a chapelry in the Parish of Halifax, but in 1841, a new Parish of Hebden Bridge was created. The first incumbent to take on this new parish was Rev. Sutcliffe Sowden who held the Living for 20 years and was succeeded by his brother, George Sowden, who remained until 1899, assisted by various curates.


The church was enlarged in 1874 when a new chancel screen and alter rails were donated by the Hey family and stained glass windows were added. Electric light was installed in 1906 and in 1912 new seating was added to the gallery. The organ was purchased in 1966 and the tower altered in 1982.


War Memorial


Outside the church is a stone memorial to the men of the Parish who fell in the 1914-1918 war


To the Glory of God and in memory of those who laid down their lives for their country in the Great War 1914-1918


Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let light perpetual shine upon them.
Albert Kilby Fred Greenwood Lewis Mawson Reynolds
Alexander Hacking Frederick Gibson Maurice Hopwood
Arnold Riley George Thomas Hartley Reginald Williams
Arnold Sutcliffe Uttley George William Foster Robert Arnold Thomas
Arthur Gibson George William Thomas Sam Uttley
Arthur Greenwood Harry King Sydney Gibson
Arthur Luty Herbert Hind Thomas Spencer
Arthur Uttley James Alexander Scott Thomas Taylor
Ben Gibson James Edgar Tipping Thomas Whitehall
Benjamin Sykes James Henry Rogan Verney Gibson
Charles Edward Winearls James Weatherhead Wilfred Hampson
Edmund Lord Ashworth John Henry Greenwood Wilfred Mallinson Taylor
Edward Raynor Midgley John Most William Bolton Bamford
Eric Atack John Thomas Midgley William Edward Millington
Frank Duerden Horsfield John William Clark William Henry Simkin
Frank Hartley John William Dawson William Henry Stocks
Frank Wright Joseph Walker Willie Gibson
    Wilson Butterworth


Burial Ground


What a pleasant surprise this burial ground gave me when I was there recently. The stones are laid in neat, even rows, and are beautifully landscaped with cropped grass and daffodils.  


In Memory of Jane wife of William Crossley

of the White Hart Inn Todmorden

Who died Sept. 28th 1857 aged 48 years

Also of the above named William Crossley

Who died March 11th 1859 aged 41 years

Also of Fred Firth who died Jan 26th . 1952 aged 68 years

Also of John his son who died Oct 31st . 1922 aged 8 years

Also of Jane wife of the above Fred Firth

Who died May 4th 1961 aged 75 years

Also of Freda beloved daughter of Fred and Jane Firth

Died July 19th . 1981 aged 55 years.


In Loving Memory of John William,

the beloved son of Reuben and Sarah Ann Firth. Hebden Bridge.

Born 14 Nov 1870. Died 25 Jan 1871
Also of Herbert their son. Born 22nd Jan 1875. Died 5 April 1904
Also of the above named Reuben Firth

who died Dec 8? 1907 aged 59 years
Also of the above named Sarah Ann Firth

who died June 26 1929 aged 80 years
Also Sarah Jane their daughter, died April 22? 1952 aged ...... years


The Calderdale Family History Society has transcribed all of the Memorial Inscriptions. They are published in a book that can be purchased from the Society. See