St James Church was consecrated in November 1935 after St James Church on Standard Hill in Nottingham was pulled down to make way for an extension to the General Hospital. The left side of the present building was known for many years as the ‘Barn Church’ . It was originally a barn to Marshall Hill Farm, built on the Mapperley Hills in 1798.
The, now demolished, farm house had been let to tenant farmers of the Thoresby Estate. This farm house became the first vicarage and it was replaced by the present one in the 1990’s.
This first church had no windows over the altar and would have been a much darker place than it is now. Visible is the original, bricked up door. This was the corn store and the nag stable where the gig and the riding horses were kept. The ledges on the interior wall show where the granary floor rested above the stable. The roof of the carthorse’s stable was raised at the time of the extension. The children's corner was the site of the fodder room. The vestry and Den were the cowsheds and pigsties.
In 1956 the church was extended, in a fashion in keeping with the original building, to cater for the growing population as Porchester Garden Estate developed into a residential area. It was dedicated as a Parish Church on July 26th 1956. Oak pillars support the old barn wall, with its original windows, and the new nave. The pillars are topped with carvings of old country crafts to remind us of our roots in farming and underneath the beams can be seen beautifully carved leaves.
This is a brief history of St James, ‘the Barn Church’ , whose old beams and weathered brick walls are a fitting background for the worship of Him who was born in a stable.