The quaint Surrey church that was transformed into a film set for a Bridget Jones movie

Nestled in a peaceful village in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty sits a quaint and unassuming church. But dig a little deeper and there is something very special about this Surrey place of worship. St James’ Church stands next to the River Tillingbourne in the tiny parish of Shere, which has a population of around 3,500.

But in December 2003 it became the backdrop of one of the world’s most-loved romantic comedies; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. Find out how you can get more news from SurreyLive straight to your inbox HERE. According to the Daily Mail, a winter wonderland of fake snow and ice was created for the filming.

An onlooker told the paper: “In the end they had to do the scene in just three takes because rain kept on ruining the snowy effect. “The whole cast looked very at ease with each other and they seemed to be having a good time.” And according to an article from the SurreyLive archives, the film crew were back in full force in July 2004.

Snow was scattered over the churchyard again, which must have been a puzzling sight for villagers enjoying the summer. The movie was released later that year in November.

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Where does the church appear in the film?

St James’ Church appears in the final part of the movie as Bridget’s parents, played by Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones, renew their wedding vows. Moments before, an iconic scene takes place; Colin Firth’s character Mark proposes to Bridget, portrayed by Renee Zellweger, who is drenched in water thanks to being splashed by a passing truck.

They share a kiss after Bridget says yes. Moments later, the film sees the happy couple in the countryside for Bridget’s parents’ vow renewal ceremony. This is where Shere’s charming church takes centre stage.

A picturesque, albeit fake, wintry scene is set at St James’ as Bridget’s parents restate their love for one another at the altar.

The church looks even prettier when covered in real snow

Then, the wedding party pour out of the building and into the snowy churchyard. Bridget and Mark follow the parents through the Lych Gate. The pretty roofed entrance to the churchyard was designed in 1902 by the architect Edwin Lutyens.

He later became Sir Edwin Lutyens and designed the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London. Eyes from all over the globe would have caught a glimpse of the historic building as the movie raked in around £260m worldwide.

The history of St James’ Church

The Shere church has been a place of worship since 1190. The spire was built between 1213 and 1300 and up to the year 2000 it was covered with cedar shingles.

Thereafter they were replaced with handmade oak shakes; wooden shingles or shakes are thin and tapered pieces of wood traditionally used for roofing. The Norman church, of the 12th, 13th and 14th Century, is made from ironstone rubble and has sandstone buttresses. It was restored in 1895 by S.

Weatherley who added the vestry. The building is Grade I listed and features in Historic England’s archives.

The quaint Surrey church that was transformed into a film set for a Bridget Jones movieSt James’ Church in Shere on a wintry day

More filming in Shere

The quintessentially British nature of Shere has prompted many other movie makers to choose it as a filming location. The Holiday, released in 2006 and starring Hollywood royalty Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz and Jude Law, was shot in the chocolate-box Surrey village.

Plus, scenes for the romantic comedy The Wedding Date, released in 2005 and starring Debra Messing, were also filmed there.

The village itself attracts visitors from all over the world and it’s no surprise as there are beautiful homes to look at and plenty of photo opportunities.

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