The church lies in a picturesque village, built to a strict plan, near to Milton Abbey. St James stands in the centre of Milton Abbas and was designed by James Wyatt and consecrated in 1786. The west tower and north elevation facing the street are fine examples of late Georgian Gothic detailing. The belfry houses a single bell which is reputed to have come from the Abbey. The extended chancel, vestry and south aisle are Victorian, by the architect Walter John Fletcher from Wimborne. The alterations were completed in 1888; the church entrance gates and wrought iron lamp holder which spans them were made by the village blacksmith and erected in 1887. In 1969 a beautiful eye catching stained glass east window, designed by Lawrence Lee who designed the stained glass for Canterbury Cathedral, was fitted.
The project is to strip and replace slates on north side of the nave and the vestry and the coping stones at the east end of the nave and the vestry.