James and Basil Knott

History of J’s and B’s

J’s and B’s Beginnings

The building of the church began during the winter of 1927/28 with the generosity of Sir James Knott, a wealthy ship merchant. The church was built in memory of two of Sir James’ sons Henry (Basil) and James who were killed in the First World War.

The church was designed by Edward Eric Lofting, Assistant Surveyor to the fabric of Westminster Abbey, who had been a pupil and assistant of Temple Lushington Moore (one of the leading church architects of late Victorian and Edwardian England). It is thought of as amongst the great churches of the Arts and Crafts movement and is recognised as a masterpiece.

The church took over three years to build, partly because the foundations were laid so thoroughly that it took one year for any sign of building appeared over the barricades but it was finally ready for consecration by June 1931. The church is grade II listed and said to be built with stone from Dobson’s 1830 Newcastle prison, in Carliol Square, demolished at that time. It is faced however with stone quarried from nearby Kenton.

For further information see the guides available in the church or download the following

Short guide to St. James’ and St. Basil’s Church Fenham
Church Heritage guide for Adults
Church Heritage guide for Children 2pp
Church Heritage guide for Children 4pp

75th Anniversary 2006

As part of the 75th Anniversary of St James and St Basil’s in 2006, the memories of a generation who had been very young as the church was built and who had grown up within it’s shadow were recorded. Many of those who recalled events were in their 70’s and 80’s and to read their tales is an insight into local history.

St. James’ and St. Basil’s Church Fenham – 75th Anniversary Memories book

Knott Family and the Great War
Dame Allan's War Memorial

Historic EnglandKnott family HistoryNorth East War MemorialsChurch on Listed buildingsVicarage on Listed BuildingsChurch Heritage Record C of EChurch of St. James’ and St. Basil’s Fenham on co-curate