St James’ church in Nallur, is a one of the grandest British churches in Jaffna peninsula.
In 1817 the Anglican Church Mission Society (CMS) approved the establishment of missions in Ceylon. On 20 December 1817 four clergymen – Joseph Knight, Samuel Lambrick, Robert Major and Benjamin Ward – and their wives left England and sailed to Ceylon on board the Vittoria and arrived in late June 1818.
Knight went to Jaffna, Lambrick went to Colombo, Major and his wife went to Galle and Ward and his wife to Trincomalee. Knight started his missionary work in 1818 in Nallur. In 1820 Knight bought a mission house in Nallur to conduct regular services. An old, dilapidated Dutch church next to the mission house was handed over to the mission by the government in 1823. After extensive repairs this church was opened to the public for worship on 25 July 1828 (St. James’ day). Bishop James Chapman consecrated the church in 1847 and in 1849 a 60 feet tower was added. The classical Italianate edifice used by Anglicans since its inception still can be seen being used today.
This church was the site of the original Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil before it was destroyed by the Portuguese. Part of the original Shivalingam of the Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil was located in the Vicarage till 1995 when it was destroyed during the recapture of Jaffna by Sri Lanka armed forces and the platform where the shivalingam was mounted on can still be seen in the hallway of the vicarage.
The church was declared an archaeological protected monument in December 2011.
Map of Nallur St James’ Church
The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites.
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Traveling directions to Nallur St James’ Church
Travel directions from Jaffna town to Nallur St James’ Church
|Distance : 4km|
Travel time : 10 min
Time to spend : 15 – 30 mins
Driving directions : see on google map