St. James has a rich heritage, dating from its first worship service conducted in 1700 by the Reverend Evan Evans, pastor of Christ Church, Philadelphia. Since then the parish has seen many changes in the surrounding countryside and grown along with the area as it progressed from a rural to a suburban economy. Throughout its more than three hundred year history, St. James has been committed to faithful worship, Christian education, outreach and service.
Many of St. James historical records are available for review by appointment through the Church office. Our list of interesting Historical Facts about the parish offers a brief overview of the more extensive information.
Edward Lane, the actual founder of St. James, acquired his extensive lands along the Perkiomen and Skippack creeks before 1700, after emigrating from Bristol, in the west of England. Other Church of England families from Bristol, and nearby Wales, came to settle on his land in the late 1600's and early 1700's. They built a log church on land, presumably donated by Mr. Lane, soon after 1700. This first St. James Church burned a few years later in a fire that destroyed all of the church records of the day.
The "Old Stone Church" of 1721
To replace the original log structure, a new stone church was erected in 1721, under the direction of the Reverend Robert Weyman, of St. David's Radnor, who was also in charge of the St. James parish, at the time. This stone church building stood across the road from the present church in the center of the current cemetery, which was then the churchyard.