St. James, Normanton on Soar

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St James Church, Normanton on Soar, dating from the 12th Century, is situated beside the river Soar at one of the most southerly points in the county of Nottinghamshire. The nearest town is Loughborough in Leicestershire, which is approximately four miles away by road to the south.

St James’ Church is a small church, standing on the River Soar, a Grade I listed building, and is known as the Boatmen’s Church. It is a wonderful historical building in a fantastic location of peace and tranquility beside the river. The earliest mention of a church in Normanton appears in a document of uncertain date between 1141 and 1147 confirming the grant of a church here to the monastery at Durham by the Archbishop of York. No records exist which might provide evidence of when the present church was built, and one has therefore to rely on the architectural styles apparent in the structure. Those appearing in St James’ are the three Gothic styles known as: Early English 1189-1272, Decorated 1272-1377 and Perpendicular 1377-1485. The church underwent a major restoration in 1889, and then again in 1986 following a fire in the chancel. The Font dates from the 14th century and is hewn from a single block of stone. Booklets in the church provide a detailed history of the church and the changes it has seen over the years.

Music and contemplative prayer are very much part of St James’ mission, and the church is open every day for private contemplation, with quiet music. Spiritual books are available to take and to share. The position of St James, by the gently flowing river, with fields behind, provides a quiet and tranquil spot for this beautiful, small church, well loved for centuries. As a resident of the village commented: “I value the spirituality which I feel when I am in and around the church. It offers that rare attribute, in an increasingly noisy world, of a space of peace and quiet for personal prayer or even just respite from the trauma of the day.”

The stones themselves seem to speak of those who have gone before and left their thoughts and prayers in this thin place. The church provides quiet seating areas with cushions and throws to keep warm, with prayers and resources from the Julian Group, poems, thoughts and prayers that people want to share who attend our Quiet Times. Candles are available to light with prayers to use which have been shared from other churches.

The Church has a service every Sunday at 9:30 am, with Morning Prayer on the first Sunday of the month, Holy Communion on second, third and fourth Sundays, and “Simply Worship” where there is a fifth Sunday in the month, led by members of the congregation. Quiet Times are an important feature, with a regular Julian Group, Taizé-style services, and short Evening services with poetry, prayer, meditation and music. Details available in the porch.

Church is open daily between 10 am and 4 pm throughout the year by a volunteer rota.


Main Street, Normanton on Soar, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5HD, United Kingdom


Grid reference; 52°48'04.6"N 1°13'55.4"W

By car: Normanton on Soar is easily reached by car, being about 10/15 minutes from Junctions 23 & 24 of the M1. From the A6, turn into the A6006 and after a couple of miles, turn right where signposted to Normanton on Soar. Go through the village, and the Church is on the right (with the spire easily seen) and opposite the new Village Hall. Parking available on the road.

By public transport (rail/bus): Infrequent service by Nottinghamshire County Council Bus 865 from Clifton, Nottingham, tram stop. By taxi, it’s 10 minutes from Loughborough Railway Station.

On foot: Various footpath routes can be found in the Ordnance Survey map 246. From the churchyard, there is a marked footpath along the river which takes you to the Chain Ferry running across the river (£1 each way) Saturdays and Sundays Easter to September.


There is easy access into the Church with a ramp available for the one step between the nave and chancel. There is a toilet in the Village Hall over the road when open, and The Plough, pub, nearby. The well-maintained Churchyard is easy to access, with seating. It is environmentally friendly, with “wild” areas to promote wildlife. There is a lovely view of the River Soar and the hills beyond. Refreshments are available from the Village Shop (at the back of the Village Hall) open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm. The Plough pub is nearby. Local accommodation at The Cedars Farm; Airbnb in Normanton on Soar; Old Hathern Station https://

The church is suitable for quiet days for individuals or group. The Hospitaller is not on site but can be contacted (see below).

The church is suitable for quiet days for individuals or group. The Hospitaller is not on site but can be contacted (see below).

Hospitaller/Contact Person

Brian and Sue Archbold,
The Willows
Butt Lane
Normanton on Soar
LE12 5EE

Tel: 07834 362169


Web Link

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