St James' Church, Handsworth

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St James' Church, Handsworth
Church with a square side tower
Postcard of St James' Church, before the new chancel was built in 1878
52°30′19″N 1°56′54″W / 52.5052°N 1.9484°W / 52.5052; -1.9484Coordinates: 52°30′19″N 1°56′54″W / 52.5052°N 1.9484°W / 52.5052; -1.9484
DenominationChurch of England
ChurchmanshipLiberal High Church
ParishSt James
Vicar(s)Reverend Dr David Isiorho

St James' Church in Handsworth, Birmingham, England was erected as an Anglican church in 1838–1840[1][2] (Handsworth was at that time in the county of Staffordshire) on land given by John Crockett of the nearby New Inns Hotel.[1][3] The architect was Robert Ebbles of Wolverhampton,[4] who specialised in Gothic Revival churches.[5] A new chancel was added in 1878[2] and the building was rebuilt in 1895,[3] to designs by J. A. Chatwin.[1] The original chancel thus became the north chapel, the original nave became the north aisle, and the original western tower was redesignated as the north-west tower.[1] The additions were a new chancel, a nave, and a south aisle.[1] Chatwin's Decorated style, red-brick features contrasted with the Early English style stonework of the original building.[1]

The church's parish was created out of that of Saint Mary's in 1854.[2] Portions were ceded to become parts of the parishes of St Peter in 1907, and St. Andrew in 1914.[1]

The noted composer Theodore Stephen Tearne Mus Bac, L. Mus, F.S.Sc. (born 1860) was organist at the church from 1904 to 1908, immediately prior to his emigration to Australia.

The famous tenor Leslie Webster Booth (born 1902) was chorister at the church from 1909 to 1911, before he was accepted as a chorister at Lincoln Cathedral.

The church's early baptism, marriage and burial registers, and various parish meeting minutes, are in the archives of the Library of Birmingham.[6]

As of May 2014, the vicar is the Reverend Dr David Isiorho, a former social worker and a member of the editorial board of the journal Black Theology.[7][8] Worship is conducted in the Liberal High Church tradition.[7] The church sits on the corner of Saint James Road, to which it gives its name, and Crocketts Road, just off the A41 Holyhead Road, and is in the Anglican Diocese of Birmingham.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Religious History - Churches built since 1800". A History of the County of Warwick: Volume 7. pp. 379–396. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "St James' Church, Handsworth c1920". Birmingham City Council. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Saint James' Church, Handsworth". Digital Handsworth. Archived from the original on 18 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  4. ^ "St James' Church, Handsworth". Digital Handsworth. Archived from the original on 18 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  5. ^ Ebbles is given as architect of St Paul's Church, Wolverhampton (1833-34, demolished 1960s); St Peters Church, Charles Street, Coventry (1840); St Pauls, Tipton; Christchurch, Garnant, Wales, and other churches around Wolverhampton as well as in Surrey and the Isle of Wight ("Garnant and Glanaman").
  6. ^ "Access to Archives - Records of the ecclesiastical parish of St. James, Handsworth". The National Archives. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  7. ^ a b c "St James, Handsworth". A Church Near You. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  8. ^ "Black Theology An International Journal". Maney Publishing. Retrieved 18 May 2014.

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