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Williamsburg in James City County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Jamestown’s Churches
 
Jamestown’s Churches Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 14, 2008
1. Jamestown’s Churches Marker
 
Inscription.
The First and Second Churches
Captain John Smith reported that the first church services were held outdoors “under an awning (which was an old sail)” fastened to three or four trees. Shortly thereafter the colonists built the first church inside James Fort. Smith said it was “a homely thing like a barn set on cratchetts, covered with rafts, sedge and earth.” This church burned in January 1608, and was replaced by a second church, similar to the first.

The Third Church
In 1617-1619, Governor Samuel Argall had the inhabitants of Jamestown built a new church “50 foot long and twenty foot broad.” This wooden church stood atop a foundation of cobblestones one foot wide capped by a wall one brick thick. You can see this foundation preserved under glass on the floor of the Memorial Church. The first assembly met in Jamestown’s third church.

The Fourth Church
In January 1639, Governor John Harvey reported that he, the Council, the ablest planters, and some sea captains “had contributed to the building of a brick church” at Jamestown. Built around the third church, the fourth church remained incomplete until sometime after November 1647.

The Fifth Church and Tower
The fourth church burned on September 19, 1676, during Bacon’s Rebellion.
 
Marker at Historic Jamestowne Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 14, 2008
2. Marker at Historic Jamestowne
 
By 1686, a new church was built using the walls and foundations of the older charred church. The tower of this church is the only 17th-century structure still standing at Jamestown. Abandoned in the 1750s, the fifth church fell into ruin by the 1790s. Although the tower remained intact, bricks from other portions of the church were reused to build the present graveyard wall.

During the 19th century, the tower became a silent symbol to many Americans of their early heritage. In the 1890s, the APVA Preservation Virginia acquired, strengthened, and preserved the tower as well as the foundations of earlier churches on the site.
 
Erected by Colonial National Historic Park.
 
Location. 37° 12.518′ N, 76° 46.71′ W. Marker is in Williamsburg, Virginia, in James City County. Marker can be reached from Colonial Parkway, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in the "Old Towne" section of the Historic Jamestown unit of Colonial National Historic Park. Marker is in this post office area: Williamsburg VA 23185, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pocahontas (a few steps from this marker); Jamestown (within shouting distance of this marker); The First General Assembly of Virginia (within shouting distance of this marker); James Fort Site 1607 – 1624 (within shouting distance of this marker); Captain John Smith (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Captain John Smith (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Earthworks (within shouting distance of this marker); The Greate Road – An Early Highway pre-1607-1700s (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Williamsburg.
 
Memorial Church at Jamestown Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 14, 2008
3. Memorial Church at Jamestown
The church and the wall around the graveyard that was built from bricks of the fifth church can be seen in this photo.
 

 
Also see . . .
1. Historic Jamestowne. Colonial National Historic Park from National Park Service website. (Submitted on March 15, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 

2. Historic Jamestowne. Historic Jamestowne is the site of the first permanent English settlement in America. The site is jointly administered by APVA Preservation Virginia and the National Park Service. (Submitted on March 15, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Jamestown Church Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 14, 2008
4. Jamestown Church
This photo is of the western side of the church, the opposite side from the marker.
 
 
Interior of Jamestown Church Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Coughlin, August 14, 2008
5. Interior of Jamestown Church
The altar of the Memorial Church can be seen in this photo.
 
 
William Claiborne Memorial at the Church Photo, Click for full size
By Joe Harness
6. William Claiborne Memorial at the Church
To the glory of God and to the honored memory of William Claiborne Son of Thomas Cleyborne of Crayford, Kent gentleman, and Sara Smith-James. Born 1587 Settled in Virginia 1621 Member of Council 1625-60 Treasurer 1642-50 Deputy governor 1653 Commanded expeditions against the Indians 1629 & 1644 At Kent Island he made the first settlement within the present boundary of Maryland
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on March 15, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 662 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 15, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   6. submitted on July 23, 2012, by Joe Harness of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.
 
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