Surrounded by a park landscaped by Capability Brown from 1751 and populated by a large deer herd roaming the magnificent woodland, St James’ Church is a red brick building featuring four domes topped by finials. Although the Packington Estate has remained private for decades, it is finally opening to the public for the first time as music lovers can attend intimate Candlelight concerts inspired by some of the greatest music of all time inside the charming church.
St James’ Church is easily accessed from both Birmingham and Coventry. Just 4-5 minutes from Birmingham International Train Station, visitors with a keen eye for architecture and people who love nature won’t want to miss out on appreciating the venue in all its glory. The venue is also accessible for those with mobility concerns and/or wheelchairs etc.
Candlelight concerts at St James’ Church
The Candlelight series invites everyone to make their way to this unique venue, previously used as a private church for the owners and local parish, for mesmerising performances. After enormous success in over 100 major cities worldwide, the wildly popular concerts are coming to illuminate this hidden gem with a sea of candles. Listen to the likes of Vivaldi’s four-part masterpiece, The Four Seasons, being brought to life by a talented string quartet.
Facts, Curiosites, and Interesting Things about St James’ Church
1. Who owns the church?
The Grade I listed building in Great Packington is owned and maintained by the Aylesford family. Designed by architect Joseph Bonomi, the church was built in 1789 by the fourth Earl of Aylesford as a way of commemorating the return to sanity of George III.
2. Farming at Packington Estate
The estate is divided up into a number of farms which are either let to other farmers or farmed in-hand. In the past, Packington Estate has seen pig farms, dairy herds, and more. Today, there are around 300 black fallow deer living on this rich land. Furthermore, the venue confirmed, “the estate is undergoing a massive rewilding project as well as arable farming—this is central to our ethos moving forwards.”
3. The original house
Lord and Lady Aylesford and their five children call the original house on the estate home. It was built in 1963 and after a serious fire in 1979, the house was restored whilst retaining the character of the original building. Surrounded by about 5,500 acres, lakes, and stunning parkland, and available for functions, this striking house is a stately home at the heart of the estate.
4. The Forest of Arden
Adjacent to St James’ Church and the inspiration behind Shakespeare’s forest in the play As You Like It, the Forest of Arden is the subject of myths and legends, and was at a time bounded by a prehistoric salt track and Roman roads. Today, it is not the thickly forested area of the past, however it still boasts a few ancient woodlands, listed buildings, and is also recognised as “one of the premier golf destinations in the UK.”
5. A bespoke organ
St James’ Church houses an impressive organ designed by Handel with reverse coloured keys, and a bespoke interior design. The organ was designed for Handel’s librettist Charles Jennens, the cousin of the 4th Earl of Aylesford.
What else can you do at St James’ Church?
St James’ Church will be open to the public for Candlelight’s captivating performances. While the venue remains privately owned, there are plenty of activities to be discovered in the surrounding estate. From the likes of seasonal wreath making workshops and offering a filming location to Stonebridge Golf & Conference Centre and Packington Fishery, discover more about the Packington Estate on their website.
Nothing compares to the atmosphere created by thousands of flickering candles illuminating a historic space. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to sit inside the beautiful church while enjoying classial renditions of legendary music. Whether you attend a concert with friends, family, or enjoy it alone, Candlelight makes for a memorable evening out.
Note: For the safety of our audience, all of the candlelight will be provided through flameless candles.