St James' Church

When a new parish with St James' as the parish church was formed in 1985 the church already had a long history. It had been consecrated in June 1867. The town was still comparatively small, with the ruins of its medieval castle and town defences as a legacy of the past, and with its central parish church at St. Mary's. There were many signs of the industrial activity which was bringing prosperity to the area, and of the cost of that prosperity in terms of poor housing, inadequate sanitation, and widespread poverty. On the western fringe, along the ancient route to Sketty which became Walter Road, there were all the signs of wealth and prosperity.

 Two vicars of St Mary's were keenly aware of the social problems of their day; Edward Burnard Squire, who was vicar from 1846 to 1876, and J. Allan Smith, who was vicar from 1885 to 1902. Squire was the pioneer. Concerned about the conditions which he encountered in the town centre he became deeply involved in social and educational work, fostering new National Schools in Oxford Street and the Ragged School, and later the Parochial Schools in the Sandfields. But the parish extended beyond central Swansea. Squire regarded the foundation of a daughter church, St James', as a contribution to the life of the more prosperous people in his parish, and he placed great emphasis on the fact that he would soon be seeking their support for his future plans for the poorer areas of his parish. St James owes him much, and it is fitting that the Parish Centre should have been built as a memorial to him.

This new daughter church was an important base, and those who worshipped here played an active part in the life of the parish of Swansea. When St Mary's was so severely damaged during the second world war, St James' became the centre of the parish until the old parish church had been rebuilt. Then it reverted to its former position and became, once again, a daughter church.

When, in 1985, Bishop Vaughan weighed up the changes which could be achieved in the Uplands, he made St James' an independent parish in its own right