There are no services being held in the church at present and the diocese have instructed us to keep it locked, but our vicar, Rev. Simon Kirby, is holding online services at 10:00am on Sunday mornings and a prayer meeting on 'ZOOM' * on Thursday mornings at 9:00am.

If you would like to join either of these online gatherings, the details can be found on the
St. Mary’s Cogges website as well as on our Facebook page.

We are all missing seeing each other in these difficult times but this is the next best thing.

* 'Zoom' is a free download so you can join in events or just listen.


Vicar: Simon Kirby - 01993 702155 -

Associate Minister: Nick Pike - 01993 200843 -

Associate Vicar: David Spence - 01993 778611 -

Parish Office: (Sara & Judy) 01993 779613 -

Church Wardens: Howard Chirgwin - 01993 706557 -

Safeguarding Officer: Karen Wilson - 01993 771346 -

St. James the Great

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Our Vicar
Simon Kirby became the Vicar of St. James, South Leigh and St. Mary’s, Cogges in January 2013. Prior to that he had been a youth worker, school chaplain and church planter in North London. He is married to Sue and has two grown up sons. When not taking care of Parish business he enjoys walks in the Oxfordshire countryside, running, watching various sports and photography. One of the highlights of his ministry in South Leigh was hitting a six in the High Cogges v. South Leigh cricket match, which some would say proves the existence of miracles.

David Spence is the Associate Vicar at St. James, South Leigh and St. Mary’s, Cogges. Prior to joining the team in November 2019, he was a minister in Hull. He is married to Ellie and has four young children. He is delighted to be back in the Witney area where he trained as part of his curacy and looks forward to enjoying the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside once again.

David Spence
Here at St. James the Great, South Leigh, we take safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults very seriously. Safeguarding is a central concern for us all as we seek to deliver on the promise of a church that is a safe and welcoming space for people of all ages.

We have a safeguarding policy and refer to guidance on the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children's Board or and the information from Oxford Diocese Safeguarding department.

What can you do?
  1. If a child or adult is in immediate danger or requires immediate medical attention, call the emergency services on 999.
  2. If there are concerns about their immediate welfare, don't delay: call Children and Adult Social care on 0345 050 7666 or the Mash out-of-hours emergency Duty Team 0800 833408.
  3. Also please immediately inform our Parish Safeguarding Officer, Karen Wilson.
  4. If you have any safeguarding concerns and would like to discuss them you can contact Karen on 01993 771346 or email concerns to
  5. If you are unsure or worried about how serious a situation is, contact one of the Diocesan safeguarding advisors, Stuart Nimmo on 01865 208290 or Sophie Harney on 01865 208295.
  6. For safeguarding information and e-learning safeguarding courses you can also go to
I would like some help with the church flower rota please. The Sunday morning worship is at 9.30am and so flowers may be put in the church any time to suit you on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. You do not need to have any 'flower arranging' skills. There are plenty of pots and vases in the cupboard in the vestry. Flowers from the garden or market with a bit of greenery will look lovely. Please look at the St. James flower rota to choose a date, perhaps in memory of someone dear on a birthday or anniversary. The rota can be found
here or on the notice board in the church porch.

Please contact Liz Ashwell - or 01993 703534.
Thieves have been at work taking lead from churches in Oxfordshire. If you see anyone working on our church, we would be grateful if you could contact us to verify their presence is known about.
It doesn’t seem long since I was writing to thank you all for your great response to our fundraising for the church roof repairs. However I think the years are just flying by. We have just had another Quinquennial inspection and have also started planning our next project to bring our church into the 21st century.  We had to put our plans on hold five years ago to raise the needed funds for repairs but have decided to try again to get water, and a toilet at the church and to develop the North Isle to provide seating and a reading area and to improve accessibility to the village millennium map. We also need to do work to improve drainage around the church and to upgrade the path to the church. This will be expensive to do but will be worth it.
We have signed up to the fundraising scheme called 'easyfundraising'. You can find out about how it works
here. If you are planning to shop online, for example reserving an item from Argos, please consider supporting St. James - South Leigh and of course please also ask your family and friends to do so too.  We have raised over £500 so far and some of us also raised funds for the village hall as well.

The Witney Gazette published a feature on 10th January, 2018 entitled 'The preacher and the poet'. You can see that article by clicking the button below.

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Rev. Nick Pike

On 26th October, 2016, Bishop Colin joined us at St. James for a service to licence Nick as our Associate Minister. We are very fortunate to have Nick supporting Rev. Simon Kirby in leading our worship in the parish, taking weddings, baptisms and funeral services for the village and beyond. The congregation are delighted that Nick has completed his Curacy. Nick would like to thank everyone for their support and kind gifts.
Photo © Anne Peake.

The Friends of St. James is an organisation aimed at developing the links between the parish church, the regular congregation and the wider village and encouraging our numerous visitors to be connected to the wider life and ministry of the church community.

In return for a small annual donation, Friends will receive an annual newsletter sent by email, be able to attend an annual meeting including an historical talk, a tour of the church and afternoon tea, and have an information page on the South Leigh website, including advance warning of activities in the church such as the Music Festival, Art Festival, concerts etc.

They will also be invited to take part in major fundraising activities, supporting the congregation in the repair, maintenance and restoration of the church and the churchyard funds raised will not be used to support the day-to-day ministry of the church, but will be targeted solely at the building and the churchyard.

If you would like to join the Friends (minimum annual subscription £24, life membership £240), please pick up an application form from the shelf near the church door or let Nick Pike, Simon Kirby or Howard Chirgwin know and they will give you an application form.

Other payment methods are:
  • by cheque, made payable to 'South Leigh Parochial Church Council'.
  • by online BACS payment direct to our bank account, the details of which are:
  • Account name: South Leigh Parochial Church Council
  • Sort code: 40-47-07
  • Account no.: 30769533
NB: If you pay online, please also email a remittance advice to (Please replace the 'xxx's' in the email with the amount of your donation and your name.)

Regardless of payment method, please consider gift aiding your donation as we can then claim the tax back too - you can download a Gift Aid form
here. Please send the completed form to:
Karen Wilson, 21 Lymbrook Close, South Leigh OX29 6XL
A brief history of the church can be seen on the 'Sacred Destinations' website
here. Additionally, you can find all sorts of information about St. James the Great here. Click on the following links to find out about other churches in the Benefice: St. Mary's, Cogges and St. Mary's, North Leigh.
There is a very good web site where you can find out more about the church and its history
here. On it, there are also links to other sites from which you can learn about the medieval wall paintings and many other things besides.
St. James has three refuse bins. Two for green compostable waste and one grey for landfill. Please put only green compostable waste in the green bins. Funeral wreathes often have plastic bases and Christmas wreaths often contain a metal frame both of which the refuse collectors refuse to take. Put those in the grey bin. Please put all paper, plastic, ribbon and cellophane in the grey bin.
We have signed up to a fundraising scheme called '
easyfundraising'. You can find out about how it works here. If you are planning to shop online please consider going via our own link and of course please also ask your family and friends to do so too.