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In Nebutolla Lane, near Amherst Street, Calcutta (Kolkata) there stood an old church of the same name which was quite similar, in terms of design and plan to St.Thomas’ Church on Free street. The present church was built with a view replacing the old one mentioned above. It was consecrated by Bishop Reginald Heber
(21 April 1783 - 3 April 1826) on 12 November 1829 who died in Tiruchirapalli city of Tamil Nadu while on a missionary work.
Subsequently, the old church became severely damaged due to termite attack and lack of church activities. It almost fell into disuse. Because of sustained neglect and poor use, it became unsafe for divine services. A futile attempt was made to repair the building to make it safe for services, but the roof caved in on the morning of 23 August 1859 while the work was in progress leaving the church beyond restoration. Having no other alternatives, considering the demand for a new church, the church authorities, made a decision to build a new church in a better place and also a school for the children of the neighborhood.
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On 7 June 1862, the foundation stone of the new Church was laid by the Honorable John Peter Grant, acting Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. A marble tablet placed on the eastern wall of the south transept reads –
The first stone of this Church dedicated to
St. James, was laid June 7th, 1862.
Consecrated by Bishop Cotton 25th July, 1864.
The Revd. Dr. Jarbo, Chaplain.
This Church has on either side two of Calcutta's famous schools St. James & Pratt Memorial. The church was renovated and reopened to public on 11th Dec 2011