About the Parish
The Ecclesiastical Parish of St James with St Barnabas, Enfield—as we are officially called—comprises the localities of Enfield Highway and Brimsdown, in EN3, the north-east portion of the Borough of Enfield.
A chapel of ease was built in 1831, and elevated to a parish church a year later; the Parish of St James the first parish carved out of the ancient parish of Enfield due to the expansion of the population from what is now Enfield Town.
The population of the Parish of St James stands at 26,900 (and continues to grow) making it the most populous parish in Enfield, and one of the largest single-church parishes in the Church of England.
Brimsdown is the older of the two localities, recorded as early as 1420 (as Grymesdown, getting the present spelling—with a B—by the late eighteenth century).These days the western half of Brimsdown is residential, while the portion lying between the mainline railway and the right bank of the River Lea (which is the also eastern boundary of the parish) is part of the largest business corridor in London, with factories, warehouses, distribution centres and several retail outlets.
To the west of Brimsdown is what is now called Enfield Highway, named in the eighteenth century for a settlement in Enfield from the ‘kings highe way leading to London’, i.e. what is now the Hertford Road (A1010). Earlier there had been a hamlet by the name of Cocksmiths End, recorded in 1572.
About the Building
St James’s Church was built as a chapel of ease in 1831 to the designs of William Lochner on ground south of Green Street given by Woodham Connop (Lord of Durants and Suffolks Manors).
The church is a plain-aisled building of stock brick, in Commissioners’ Gothic, with a western tower and battlemented exterior. A chancel in the Early English style was added in 1864. There were galleries round three sides of the nave by the end of the century.
The north and south galleries had been removed by 1967, when a fire seriously damaged the east end of the church. It was restored in 1969 by J Barrington-Baker & Partners. At the rebuilding the chancel arch was removed and a new sanctuary was built in continuation of the nave. The inside of St James’s Church is light, open and modern.
Links to Other Organisations
St James’s has close links with St James’s Primary School in Frederick Crescent, about 100 metres from the church. Founded in 1834 as the National School, it is the oldest school within the parish, as well as in Eastern Enfield.
There are also growing links with Bishop Stopford’s School, a Church of England Secondary School, also within the parish, and the only Anglican secondary school in the Borough of Enfield. One of the best achieving schools in Enfield Borough, it’s also known for the exemplary behaviour of its students and the growing renown of its Gospel Choir!
At St James’s there is an active chapter of the Mothers’ Union, whose mission is Christian care for families. They are active in leading worship, in service and in support.
Together with a number of churches throughout the London Borough of Enfield, St James’s is seeking to establish the Enfield Churches Debt Centre in partnership with Christians Against Poverty, a nationally recognised charity that works tirelessly and lovingly to help get individuals and families relief from crippling debt.
Archive of Church Records
Baptisms (christenings): 1834 to October 1951
Marriages: 1845 to March 1955
Burials: May 1834 to May 1957
Baptisms at the Royal Small Arms Factory Chapel: October 1886 to 1986
Baptisms at St George’s Mission Church: September 1886 to September 1900
All records are kept at the London Metropolitan Archives Library:
40 Northampton Road
020 7332 3820
For subsequent records, please contact the Parish Administrator on 020 8804 3823 or via our contact page.