St James's Church, Hampton Hill

Church plate

Church plate is a collective term for church objects made of precious and semi-precious metals. For convenience we have included the glassware used. Some church plate is among the most valuable furnishings in the church and is kept in the safe when not needed for worship. The plate in St. James's Church reflects, not only the light created by human beings, but also, symbolically, the light of the Holy Spirit.

The cruet and flagon


The flagon


The cruet

" "

A cruet
is a small flat-bottomed vessel with a narrow neck used during the celebration of Holy Communion. Cruets often have an integral lip or spout and may also have a handle has a stopper or lid to protect the contents from from flies and dust. Cruets are normally made from glass, ceramic, or stainless steel. Cruets come in pairs, one containing water and the other containing altar wine. The cruet containing water is marked 'A' for the Latin word for water, Aqua, and the one containing the wine, 'V' for Vinum.

The altar wine, a special wine made only for Holy Communion containing a much lower alcohol percentage than other wines, is mixed with water in the chalice during Holy Communion in commemoration of the Last Supper.

A flagon is a large vessel, usually made of glass and metal, that contains the wine to be consecrated. If more than one chalice is used during the administration of Communion, the flagon (or an additional cruet filled with wine and water) is placed on the altar at the offertory, and other chalices are brought to the altar after the breaking of the bread.

There should be only one chalice on the altar during the Great Thanksgiving. A smaller container called a cruet is used for the priest's chalice, usually identical to the cruet of water, which is mingled with the wine before consecration. The cruets do not remain on the altar after the preparation of the gifts.

Chalices and patens

" "




" "

, often made of precious metal and sometimes richly jewelled, have been used since ancient times. The chalice, from Latin calix, meaning cup, is a drinking cup or goblet with a bowl, a single stem, and a foot. The stem usually has a knob to make it easier to grasp.

The chalice holds the sacramental wine during Holy Communion and everyone drinks from it, the server wiping the cup with a napkin and rotating it for each communicant. This is called 'taking communion from a common cup'. Worshippers can dip the bread into the cup if they prefer.

The ornate silver-gilt Baroque chalice with garnets is now only used on special occasions at St. James's.
Underneath are scratched the initials "H.I.K. 1818".

A Paten, or diskos, is a small plate, usually made of silver or gold, used to hold Eucharistic bread which is to be consecrated. The word paten comes from a Latin form patina or patena, evidently imitated from the Greek patane. It seems from the beginning to have been used to denote a flat open vessel of the nature of a plate or dish. Such vessels in the first centuries were used in the service of the altar, and probably served to collect the offerings of bread made by the faithful and also to distribute the consecrated fragments which, after the loaf had been broken by the celebrant, were brought down to the communicants, who in their own hands received each a portion from the patina.

The ciborium

A ciborium is a covered container used to store the wafers or bread for Holy Communion. It is like a chalice in shape but its bowl is more round than conical.

The lid has a cross or other sacred design mounted on it. The ciborium is usually made of gold or silver and the interior of the cup is always lined with gold.

The wafers, Communion Hosts, are round flat wafers made from unleavened bread. They are consecrated during the service and distributed amongst the congregation during the celebration of Holy Communion.

The other vessel used to hold the communion wafers is called a pyx and is a small silver plated box which serves for storing and carrying the wafers to the sick. It is inscribed "To the Glory of God and in loving memory od Sergt. Thomas J. Henstridge, R.E., aged 26 who died 14 November 1939 after a road accident whilst on duty. 'Faithful unto death'. Hallmark 'A.P. M&Co. E.'"


The ciborium
The pyx with hosts

The pyx
The pyx with hosts
The ciborium

The ciborium with the lid

The santuary lamp and aumbry

In the sanctuary is a niche, which is a cut out place in the north wall.

Next to this is an aumbry which is a locked cabinet or safe in the wall to hold the consecrated (made sacred) bread and wine that is not used during the normal communion. This can then be taken to the ill or housebound who have asked for communion to be given to them at home.

A wax sanctuary lamp stands in the niche next to the aumbry as a sign that this sacrament is stored here. The lamp is always burning to remind us that Christ is always present.


The aumbry

The niche
The santuary lamp

The sanctuary lamp

Church crosses and candlesticks

Church crosses

The cross is one of the most ancient symbols, and is used by many other religions, as well as Christianity. The word cross comes from Latin crux, a Roman torture device used for crucifixion. The cross reminds Christians of God's act of love in Christ's sacrifice at Calvary and also of Jesus' victory over sin and death.

St James's brass altar cross is inscribed "Sacred to the memory of Henry Bendy 1936". St James's processional cross is an oak staff with a polished brass cross with the inscription: "Dedicated to the memory of Annie Greene Headmistress of the Hampton Hill Church of England Girls' School for 25 years, from her Old Girls and Friends."

The crucifix, from Latin cruci fixus meaning fixed to a cross, is a usually a three-dimensional cross with a representation of Jesus' body on it. See the inscription "INRI" on the crucifix in the picture on the left. "INRI" are the initial letters of the Latin words for 'Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews' (IESUS NAZARENUS REX IUDAEORUM). This was the inscription which Pilate wrote and put on the cross (see John 19, v. 19).

High altar cross

The high altar
The processional cross

The processional
The crucifix

The portable
altar crucifix


The pair of brass altar candlesticks are inscribed
"Sacred to the memory of Howard Fletcher 1939". An altar candlestick consists of five parts: the foot, the stem, the knob around the middle of the stem, the bowl to catch the wax drippings, and the sharp point or tube to hold the candle.




High Altar

Alms dishes

The alms dish is a larg brass circular collection plate with a copper central insert. It is inscribed "All things come of thee and of thine own have we given". A collection plate is a shallow circular container for collection for the church and for charity. At St James's Church at the beginning of the Liturgy of the Sacrament the president introduces the Peace, a hymn is sung and the collection is taken. The sidespersons go round the church and collect any money in alms bags and then take these, together with the wine and hosts (wafers), up to the servers at the altar. These alms bags are all gathered on to the large brass collection plate and put on the small table at the side of the altar until after the service.

collection plate
Alms Dish
collection plate

Staff, rods or wands of office and the book stand

Churchwardens' staff

Churchwardens' staff

" "
" "

The Book stand

Staff, rods or wands of office
A staff of office can symbolise a position, rank or prestige. The churchwardens carry them in special services, as does the verger. See pictures on the left, the two on the far left showing the tops of the two churchwarden staffs and the other showing the top of the verger staff.

The book stand
The brass book stand lives on the high altar, or the table next to it, to hold the bible for certain services. It has a centre incription of "IHS". "IHS" or "IHC" are the first three letters of the Greek for Jesus (IHCOYC). See picture on the right.

St James's Church
The Parish Church of St James, Hampton Hill, TW12 1DQ
Main site: