In the Church of England a ‘proprietary chapel’ is generally a chapel built by subscription and maintained by private individuals. Such chapels are without constitutional existence or parochial rights. The Church of St James, Avonwick is one of the very few now remaining.
It was built at the total expense of the founders. There is a plaque on the south-east wall of the chancel which states: ‘This chancel is erected to the Glory of God and in loving remembrance of James Cornish of Black Hall who died 7th September 1865, age 73 years, in consequence of a fall from his horse near this place.’ He was buried in North Huish Church as were other members of his family before him.
The Church was dedicated on 6th August 1878. A newspaper reported, ‘On Tuesday 6th August 1878 the church was opened by the Bishop of the Diocese under very auspicious circumstances.’