Nave

 

The nave is the central open space of the church, the main aisle, where most of the congregation sit during services. The word nave comes from the Latin word navis which means ship, the root of the English word navigation. 

The nave ceilingMost older churches have pitched roofs with supports in the shape of an upside down 'V'. This is particularly obvious at St James's where the roof timbers are like an upturned ship's hull, reminding us that St James was a fisherman. 

On either side of the nave are rows of pews, the fixed benches on which people sit. Once there were no seats in churches and the congregation stood or knelt. Later, in some churches including St James, a few seats were attached to the wall for old and sick people, and from this comes the saying, "The weakest go to the wall". Fixed seats for all the people were introduced about the 15th century. 

Each pew has a shelf for people to put their service and hymn books. Information cards, including welcome cards and planned giving envelopes, are also kept here for the congregation. Each pew also has several hassocks or kneelers, for people to kneel on during services. The creation of this series of new kneelers was a millennium project for the church which involved a group of women who used their talents and artistic energy to give something lasting to St James's Church.

The pulpitThe lecternThe pulpit stands at the east end of the nave. The lectern also stands here but on the north side. At the west end of the nave a memorial hangs on the wall on the north side of the west entrance. The shelves housing the hymn books and service books hang on the wall on the south side of the west entrance. Hymn boards hang in the nave, one on a pillar and two on the walls facing the congregation.

The new audio-visual system includes a big screen and an upgrade of the sound system with replacement speakers, state-of-the-art stereo microphones, headsets for clergy and a new induction loop for anyone with a hearing aid. The screen can be used to show films, the words of hymns or for a sermon. A camera has also being installed, making it possible to webcast services or concerts. The equipment is operated from a console desk at the back of the nave where there is a digital mixing desk and a laptop to power the audio visuals. 

High above the nave at the entrance to the chancel is a tiny window depicting the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove (c1909). The Great West Window at the west end of the nave depicts the 'Tansfiguration of Christ' (c1882). To see all these windows, more detailed pictures and information about them look at the page The nave stained glass windows.

The nave is divided from the side aisles by ten columns which support the church roof. Each column is topped by a carved stone capital representing flowers, leaves and fruits. They are all different and two are shown below, together with the memorial and its crucifix.

Find out more

The inside of the church through the years
 

The memorial
A stone capital
 
A stone capital
The crucifix on the memorial