AN ARCHITECT, who helped in the construction of two of London’s most iconic buildings, has been honoured in Basingstoke.

John James, born in 1673 and educated in Basingstoke, succeeded Nicholas Hawksmoor as Surveyor to the Fabric of Westminster Abbey, and helped to complete the building’s west tower.

He also assisted Sir Christopher Wren in the construction of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Basingstoke Heritage Society has now installed a plaque to his memory in the Holy Ghost Cemetery, in South View, close to where Mr James was educated.

It was unveiled at a ceremony by the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Councillor David Leeks.

The baroque-style architect was the son of a Hampshire parson, also called John James, who was the headmaster of the Holy Ghost School.

After an education in Basingstoke, Mr James married the niece of Matthew Banckes, the Master Carpenter to the Crown, and lived for a time in Hampton Court Palace.

Perhaps his most famous design was for St George’s Church, in Hanover Square, London, but he also designed several buildings in the Twickenham area of the capital.

Closer to home, he built Warbrook House, in Eversley, which is now a hotel and wedding venue. Despite being a contemporary of some of Britain’s most famous architects, not as much is known about the Basingstoke-born architect.

Debbie Reavell, the society’s secretary, said: “There are a lot of gaps in his history, but I think he’s a good person to honour.”