Williamsburg in James City County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
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.
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 (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.
Also see . . .
1. Historic Jamestowne. Colonial National Historic Park from National Park Service website.
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.
Categories. • Churches, Etc. • Colonial Era •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 825 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 6. submitted on , by Joe Harness of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.