Places To See - St James Church


This church was built by Colonel James Skinner in 1836. It is also known as Skinner's Church. This ancient church belongs to the Diocese of Delhi. When Skinner was lying on the battlefield helpless, in the 1800s, he promised to god to build a church if he survived his injuries. And he did. At that time, the construction alone cost him just under a lakh of rupees. It took 10 years to b built, and was designed by Major Robert Smith. The only other church of that era, the St Stephen’s Church in Fatehpuri in Delhi, was built in 1867.

This Renaissance-style church takes the shape of a Greek cross, and has three porticoed porches, decorative stained glass windows and a central octagonal dome that is similar to the dome in the Florence Cathedral in Florence, Italy. The church used to have a copper ball and cross on the top, believed to be the replica of a Venetian church. They were damaged during the Revolt of 1857, but were later replaced. The church was consecrated on 21 November 1836 by Right Reverend Daniel Wilson D.D., the Bishop of Calcutta.

The St James Church was used by the many Viceroys of India until the Cathedral Church of the Redemption was built in 1931. The St James Church stands at the intersection of Church Road and Lothian Road, near Kashmiri Gate. Behind the church you can find the bungalow of William Frazer, a British Commissioner of Delhi, who is also buried in the church graveyard. The Skinner family’s burial ground is to the north of the church. The tomb of Thomas Metcalf, who served as Agent and Commissioner of Delhi, is situated behind the church.