Location: One of the oldest churches, St. James Church or better known as Skinner’s Church is an Anglican church in Delhi. It is located near Kashmiri Gate at the intersection of Church Road and Lothian Road.

Constructed by: The British Colonel James Skinner

Construction started: 1826

Construction completed: 1836

Designed by: Major Robert Smith

History:

The British Colonel James Skinner was determined to dedicate a church to the name of wounded ones of the battle field during his rule over church as commission.

Thereby, he built the edifice incurring the expense of Rs. 95, 000 by himself. It was consecrated by the bishop of Calcutta Daniel Wilson on 21 November 1836. Its charge was subsequently taken over by John Mitchley Jennings.

The replica of a church in Venice, its copper ball and cross at its summit were collapsed during 1857 revolt period but were repaired later.  It was specially revamped in 2003, to pay tribute to 200 year of Skinner’s Horse (the cavalry regiment set by Skinner in 1803). The principal attendants of the occasion were Margaret Skinner, great great grand-daughter-in-law of Skinner, Admiral Sushil Kumar, retired Chief of Naval Staff, Col. Douglas Gray (the commander of Skinner’s Horse from 1935 to 1947) along with many more former British officers.

Structure:

  • Design: The basic design of this church is styled on prevalent during ‘Renaissance Revival’.
  • Architecture: The architectural plan is modeled on a cruciform plan (Greek Cross) having three porticoed porches with elongated stained glass windows and a central octagonal dome resembling the Florence Cathedral in Italy.

Timings:

Winter Timings (October – March): Prayer held at 9 a.m.

Summer Timings (April – September): Prayer held at 8:30 a.m.

Graves: The compound of the church has a grave where the remains of the British Commissioner of Delhi ‘William Fraser’ are resting. The large Memorial Cross is also decked near the tomb of British Commissioner for memorizing the lost souls of 1857 revolt. The former Agent to Governor General of India & Commissioner ‘Thomas Metcafe’, served from 1813 to 1853, is also buried in the tomb built at the rear portion.

The grave of Skinner who passed away at Hansi on 19th January 1841 used to be there but later, his remains were shifted to the church dedicated to him specifically on 19th January 1842 in a burial vault of Marble immediately beneath the ‘Communion Table’. The northern portion of the church is attributed to Skinner’s family where his fourteen wives and many children are meeting to rest in burials. The ash of a British lady was also buried here as per her wish to be interred here, however, she died in England.