St. James Episcopal Church (Wilmington, North Carolina)

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St. James Episcopal Church
St. James Episcopal Church Wilmington 02.jpg
Basic information
Location City of Wilmington
North Carolina
United States of America
Geographic coordinates 34°14′7″N 77°56′44″W / 34.23528°N 77.94556°W / 34.23528; -77.94556Coordinates: 34°14′7″N 77°56′44″W / 34.23528°N 77.94556°W / 34.23528; -77.94556
Affiliation Episcopal Church of the United States
District Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina
Status Active
Leadership Bishop Rob Skirving
Architectural description
Architect(s) John S. Norris, supervising architect (1839-1840); Thomas U. Walter, architect (1839-1840)[1]
Completed 1839

St. James Episcopal Church is a historic Episcopal church in the historic district of Wilmington, North Carolina. The church is part of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina and is the oldest church in the city of Wilmington.[2] It is a contributing building in the Wilmington Historic District.


New York architect, Henry C. Dudley (1813-1894) designed the truss roof in 1871 and the chancel and transept in 1885. Over his lifetime Dudley designed over 180 churches throughout the southern and eastern states.

Church interior[edit]

Closeup of church exterior

St. James Episcopal Church's oak altar and reredos were carved by Silas McBee, depicting the Nativity, Crucifixion, and Resurrection of Jesus. McBee also designed the Bishop's chair and two of the stained glass windows, including The Resurrection of Christ.

Ecce Homo[edit]

A painting of Christ was found in the captain's cabin of the Fortuna by scavengers when being salvaged. The painting turned out to have been done by Spanish artist Francisco Pacheco, and was named Ecce Homo, Latin for Behold the Man. The painting was given to St. James Episcopal Church in 1751, and still resides in the church.[3]

Notable burials[edit]

The historic graveyard at St. James has many notable burials.[4] These burials include:

  • Cornelius Harnett, American Revolutionary
  • George Washington Glover, first husband of Mary Baker Eddy
  • Grainger & Joshua Wright, Wrightsville Beach was named after their father Joshua Grainger Wright
  • Robert Strange, Episcopal bishop
  • Thomas Atkinson, Episcopal bishop
  • Thomas H. Wright, Episcopal bishop
  • Elizabeth Brice, only daughter of Marmaduke Jones, Esq. who was a member of Royal Governor Arthur Dobbs's Council, and later Attorney General of NC.