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Built in 1836 by the famous Maratha Colonel James Skinner, it is considered as one of the oldest churches in the city. The church is under the Church of North India Diocese of Delhi.
Designed by Major Robert Smith, the church built in a mix of Greek and Roman architecture. It took 8 years for the church to be completed and was consecrated on 25 November 1836 by the Bishop of Calcutta the Right Rev Daniel Wilson. It's dome dome resembles that of the dome of the Florence Cathedral in Venice in Italy and looks like inspired by it. The church also has traces of Mughal style which can be seen in its porches on all sides with three entrances and the staircase into the church that is adorned with floral motifs in marble.
The history of the church goes back to early 19th century, when ames Skinner was once badly injured in a battle. Due to his extreme condition he vowed to God that if he recover from his injuries, he would commemorate the favour and build a church. By the grace of God, he survived and thus he built the church which was to be renowned as the Delhi Saint James Church.
He died in mid 19th century and one can see the grave of James Skinner located in the complex of St James Church, just in front of the altar. To the north of the church lie the graves of his family. He also started a cavalry regiment called Skinnerís Horse or Yellow Boys. To pay tribute to this brave soldier, the Indian Army continued to have a cavalry regiment by the same name.
There are also several graves of victims of 1857 revolt, the grave of William Fraser, one of the famous and finest British Commissioners of Delhi and the tomb of Thomas Metcalfe an agent to Governor General of India and a Commissioner.
Designed in a cruciform plan (Greek Cross) with the altar facing towards the eastern direction and entrance towards the western direction, the church stands amidst in a beautiful gardens and peaceful atmosphere.
A copper ball and a cross surmount the dome of the church. It is said to be replica of a church in Venice. The original ball and the cross were damaged during the 1857 revolt and were later replaced. The center of the church is octagon in shape with circular columns supporting the dome and the main seating arrangement being in the central portion of the dome. The church has stained glass on various windows.
Behind the church is the bungalow of British Commissioners of Delhi, William Frazer.
Opens : On all days; Entry Fee
: Free and open to all; Photography, Video charges: nil.