St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
100 West Church Street
Edenton, North Carolina
Off Highway 17 in Chowan County, North Carolina – the Virginia Road exit towards Edenton will take you to North Broad Street – which takes you down a short, lovely drive through Edenton to a small park on Albemarle Sound. Along the way, you’ll find St. Paul’s Episcopal Church – a beautiful church and cemetery right at North Broad and West Church Streets.
I arrived there late in the day, when the sun was low and the light was warm and the shadows were long – and I wandered around the grounds, uninterrupted. It’s a beautiful place. Here’s a bit about the history of the place from the Chowan County website:
“St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, located at 100 West Church Street in Edenton, is the second oldest church building in North Carolina and the oldest in regular use. It is a landmark in the development of religious architecture in the state. Described by architectural historian Thomas T. Waterman as “an ideal in village churches,” the handsome flemish bond brick edifice is one of the most important colonial period buildings in Edenton; indeed, in 1856, David Hunter Strother, writing under the name “Porte Crayon,” referred to the church as the “pet” of the town.
The parish was organized in 1701 as the first parish in the colony under the provisions of the Vestry Act of 1701. A post-in-ground church building was erected the next year on an undetermined plot of land just east of Queen Anne’s Creek on what is now known as the Hayes farm. Edenton would not be founded for another eleven years. By 1736, perhaps when the post-in-ground chapel had outlived its usefulness, it was decided to build a new church in the bustling town of Edenton, which was also the colony’s capital. Here, the church occupied the lots set aside for church and churchyard (cemetery) before 1722 and construction began on a brick building that followed a form popular in Virginia.
On October 15, 1736, the Williamsburg Virginia Gazette reported that “a large, handsome Brick Church, with Steeple, is shortly to be built” in Edenton, with “many of the Bricks being already burnt”. By the summer of 1740, work had come to a halt for lack of funds. Aided in part by a tithe of two shillings per poll levied by the colonial Assembly, work resumed and by July 1746, the roof had been raised; however, it was left uncovered for another two years. The church was completed enough for the Vestry to meet in the building for the first time on April 10, 1760. Even then, the windows were unglazed until 1767 and the interior woodwork not be finished until 1774.”
You can read more about the history of this wonderful church at the Church’s website.
You can click on the images to see a larger version.