The Anglican Parish of St James at Morpeth is one of the oldest in Australia, consecrated on December 31, 1840 and with St. James as its’ Patron, by William Broughton, the first Bishop of Australia.
In the early 1860’s the architect Edmund Blacket added the sanctuary and sacristy, the chancel arch and the carved stone pulpit. In 1874 the church suffered major damage from a fire in the roof and another architect, Mr John Horbury Hunt, oversaw the repairs.
Hunt included the walls of the Nave in the repairs and removed the original internal brick lining to these walls, and built the new ‘hammer beam’ style of roof, which resembles the hull of a timber ship. His design for the roof and ceiling was considered “a thrilling conception and most remarkable feature”, says Professor A P Elkin, a later parish priest. This is the roof framing which is still visible today.
An attractive pedestrian avenue of trees provides a visual link between the house and the church.