Friday, March 23, 2007

St John's King William

St John's, King William County1734 N37.61616 W76.92078

The next church cousin Tom and I visited on March 17 is St John's, King William County. It is a rare, T-shaped church with the chancel (altar) on the east and a projecting wing to the north. The north and west doorways are stunning. The north has a triangular pediment with brick column pilasters while the west has a semicircular pediment with identical pilasters. They seem identical in style to those of Stratton Major and St Stephen's we stopped at earlier in the day. According to my reading, the T-shaped and cruciform churches were not designed as a architectural feature symbolizing crosses but rather as a means to enlarge the church economically as well as to provide adequate volume for the parishioners as a rectangular church has a audible limit of 80 feet maximum. The north wing was most likely built circa 1755. The walls are cited as being in poor repair in a 1963 source (Rawlings, James S. Virginia's Colonial Churches: An Artchitectural Guide. Richmond: Garrett and Massie, 1963 -- the canonical reference source) but now seem in good repair. The windows are correct 18th century form with compass (semicircular) tops and, like the doorways and corners, have rubbed brick, made by selecting light colored bricks and literally rubbing them to give them a different pattern. These subtle touches make the buildings all the more interesting to look at. There is a modern rest room building and a kiosk with the church's history well documented that is part of a modern restoration that is itself stunning. The inside is completely restored to the 1755 condition with the correct display of the Lord's Prayer, The Ten Commandments, and the Apostles' Creed in large tablets above the communion table. I wish I had space for all that this church offers. It is available for weddings, etc., at a very reasonable rate. Quixotically, my camera ran out of battery power just as we arrived, to only two pictures are available. I must make another trip and soon. is the church foundation's site. I highly recommend it for more detailed information.


Anonymous said...

Any idea as to where I can find old photographs of this church? My wife and I were married at st john's are trying to track down some older pictures of the church.

Kallicrates said...

I would email the church minister via the web address here; the Library of Congress has several images of this edifice circa 1933 on its American Memories Collection. These are viewable and downloadable on a computer. They are in the Built in America database. I just checked.