St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Northford (1940)

Sunday, October 11th, 2015 Posted in Churches, Gothic, North Branford | No Comments »

St. Andrew's Episcopal Church

St. Andrew’s Episcopal Parish in Northford was first organized in 1763 and their first church was consecrated by Bishop Thomas Church Brownell in 1822. A new edifice was built in 1845 and the original building was sold and probably used as a hay barn. The second church burned in 1938. Ground was broken for a new church on October 1, 1939 and the building was dedicated on November 10, 1940. The new building, at the same location as its predecessor (1382 Middletown Avenue) was designed by Alfred W. Boylen of New Haven to resemble the 1845 church, with a simple Gothic interior. The present rectory was built in 1957 and the parish house in 1965.

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St. John’s Episcopal Church, Washington (1917)

Sunday, September 13th, 2015 Posted in Churches, Greek Revival, Washington | No Comments »

St. John's Episcopal Church

Episcopalian families in Washington (then called Judea and part of the town of Washington) built their first church in 1794. Dedicated to St. John, the building was moved in 1815 from Davies Hollow to the Green Hill area, which had developed as the town center. Construction of the current stone church (78 Green Hill Road) began in 1917 and the first service was held on Easter, 1918. The church was designed by architect Ehrick K. Rossiter, who is famed for the many houses he designed in the Washington area.

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St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, East Plymouth (1792)

Sunday, August 2nd, 2015 Posted in Churches, Plymouth, Vernacular | 1 Comment »

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, East Plymouth

The third oldest surviving Episcopal Church building in Connecticut is the former St. Matthew’s Church in East Plymouth. The church was built by a group of members of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Plymouth who lived in the eastern part of town and were displeased in 1790 when the church decided to build a new meetinghouse in Plymouth Hollow, now Thomaston, which was then in the far western part of Plymouth. St. Matthew’s Church was built in 1792 with support from Episcopalians from the neighboring towns of Bristol, Harwinton and Burlington. The largest part of the original membership of St. Matthew’s came from the northwestern section of Bristol. Many Episcopalians had settled there near Chippens Hill and wanted a church nearby. St. Matthew’s Church is a vernacular building, in many ways similar to contemporary Congregational meetinghouses. A rural community grew up around the church, which is adjacent to the East Plymouth Cemetery. The history of the building can be found in the History of the Town of Plymouth, Connecticut (1895), compiled by Francis Atwater:

The church was built in 1792, but was unfinished inside, for at a meeting held March 5, 1793, Isaac W. Shelton and Stephen Graves were appointed a committee to “lay out the money, and procure somebody to do off the inside of the church.” And again, at a meeting held at the church December 31, 1793, the following committee was appointed to “examine and find the most convenient way of doing off the church and make report at the next meeting:” Noah Andrews, Ira Dodge, Isaac W. Shelton, Calvin Woodin, and Timothy Sperry; at which meeting held January 13, 1794, it was voted to “finish the church in the following manner: to make a broad alley through the center of the lower floor, and finish the sides with pews in the most convenient manner, also to finish the gallery by making two rows of seats round the whole square, and a row of pews across the south end.” It was voted that the church be called St. Matthew’s at a meeting held October 19, 1795. On November 10, 1794, it was voted to adopt the constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Connecticut, and Caleb Matthews, the parish clerk, was instructed to attend the convention at Cheshire and request the Right Rev. Dr. Seabury to consecrate the new church.

In 1795, “the church was consecrated by Bishop Samuel Jarvis, second Bishop of Connecticut.” Various changes were made to the building over the years, as again quoted from Atwater (in 1895):

When first erected the building stood in front of its present location with its entrance at the south end, but in 1842, or soon after, was turned around and placed where it now is. The old square pews were removed about 1830.

[. . .] In 1871 or ’72, the church was remodeled, a chancel arranged, the old towering pulpit taken down, and doors taken off the small pews, also a ceiling made to reach across from one gallery to another. There is no chimney, and when a stove was put in the people thought that no one could speak in such close atmosphere. It used to be a large and full congregation, but has dwindled down to half a dozen old decrepit ladies, and service is seldom performed there.

The former church is now a private residence.

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St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Middlefield (1862)

Sunday, July 19th, 2015 Posted in Churches, Gothic, Middlefield | No Comments »

Former St. Paul's Church, Middlefield

The former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Middlefield (was built in 1862 with support from the Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown. There were never many Episcopalians in Middlefield and the church had closed by 1911. The neighboring Levi E. Coe Library acquired the Carpenter Gothic structure in 1920 and renamed it Library Hall. A modern addition now connects the two structures.

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Trinity Parish Chapel, Southport (1872)

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 Posted in Churches, Fairfield, Gothic | No Comments »

Trinity Parish Chapel

Trinity Episcopal Church in Southport was built in 1862. Eight years later the parish began to consider plans to build an adjacent chapel that would serve as a Sunday school. The Parish School opened on September 23, 1872 in the new Carpenter Gothic-style Chapel, which features board-and-batten siding. Originally a free-standing structure, the Chapel, which now serves as a parish hall, has been connected to the church complex through twentieth-century additions.

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Westport Methodist Episcopal Church (1907)

Sunday, January 4th, 2015 Posted in Churches, Romanesque Revival, Westport | No Comments »

Former Westport Methodist Episcopal Church

Published in 1881, the History of Fairfield County, Connecticut, compiled by D. Hamilton Hurd, describes the early history of the Westport Methodist Episcopal Church:

The construction of the present church was commenced in the year 1851. Rev. Z. Davenport, now living at Saugatuck, Conn., was at that time the preacher in charge. Services were held in the old Universalist church for about two years, and until the Methodist Episcopal Church was completed.

[. . .] The original members were mostly persons who had in former years belonged to the same denomination and had worshiped at a church about two miles north of Westport village, at Poplar Plains.

The first Methodist sermon preached within the limits of this town was at Poplar Plain, in 1790, by Jesse Lee, in a house standing a few rods west of the now old church. Some few years after this regular preaching services were held in a ballroom of a tavern near by, and until the meeting house was built, about the year 1817, slabs upon legs being used for about forty years before the room was regularly seated. The old church is still standing, and is occasionally used upon some funeral occasion, the members having mostly died, the others having joined with some other Methoilist society.

Construction of a new church, located at 45 Church Lane, was begun in 1907. The church was known by the 1950s as the Community Methodist Church. In 1966 the church was sold to the neighboring Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, which uses it as the Christ & Holy Trinity Church Seabury Center and Preschool.

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Trinity Episcopal Church, Southport (1862)

Sunday, November 16th, 2014 Posted in Churches, Fairfield, Gothic | No Comments »

Trinity Episcopal Church, Southport

Episcopal services in Fairfield were first held by visiting ministers starting in 1705. Trinity Parish was established in 1725 and its first church was built on Mill Plain in Fairfield. A new and larger church was built in 1737 in the center of Fairfield. During the Revolutionary War, the church was burned during the British raid on Fairfield in 1779. Trinity’s third church building was erected after the war on Mill Plain Road in 1790. In the early nineteenth century, the Borough of Southport in Fairfield was flourishing. The first Episcopal services in Southport were held in 1828 in the house at 95 Main Street. As attendance grew, services were held at the Old Academy. Eventually Trinity constructed its next building, affectionately called “The Old Church on the Hill,” in 1829 on Rose Hill Drive in Southport to serve the growing community. The first Southport church burned down in 1854, so it was replaced by a new church on Pequot Road in 1856. That same year, parishioners in the center of Fairfield, who felt that the Southport church was too far away, established St. Paul’s Parish. Trinity’s fifth building survived until it was destroyed in 1862 when a tornado caused the steeple to crash down through the roof. The current Trinity Episcopal Church was quickly built on the foundations of its predecessor and dedicated on December 11 of that same year.

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