The church of St James, Skillington is a Grade I listed building spanning many centuries in construction. The church has 11th century Anglo Saxon origins and the arcade, chancel and south porch are 12th /13th century.
The church is notable for the absence of Victorian alterations and for its connection with the Revd Charles Hudson, Vicar of Skillington who was killed on the Whymper expedition which was the first team to climb the Matterhorn in 1865. The Hudson memorial window in the chancel shows the Matterhorn, an ice pick and a broken rope. A second window dedicated to Hudson can be seen in the south aisle. This was paid for by thirtysix of his ‘brother mountaineers’, including Whymper. This double window shows mountain scenes and mountaineering equipment.
The earliest surviving parts of the church are the northeast and southeast angles of the nave, which date from the 11th century, where are seen ‘long and short quoins’ (masonry consisting of tall thin vertical stones and short lengths of horizontal blocks) at the northeast exterior. The two bay arcades of the nave, with differently carved capitals, are 12th century. The north aisle capitals have nail head decoration; the south aisle capitals have stiff leaf carving. The 13th century chancel arch is supported by triple columns also with stiff leaf capitals.
Other features of interest include the fine 14th century octagonal font with cusped panels to the bowl and richly ornamental octagonal stem; the north wall of the chancel has two fine 13th century grave slabs inset, one reused in memory of John Bowfield, d1730; Grade II listed stone monument to Rob Sewton, d1769. This can be found near the porch and has an oval inscription panel with flanking scrolls, surmounted by a winged angel on a plain ashlar background with curved top.