“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hampton, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

St. Johnís Church

The Venerable Survivor

St. Johnís Church CWT Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, July 31, 2010
1. St. Johnís Church CWT Marker
Inscription. When Confederate Gen. John B. Magruder learned that the Federals intended to house troops and escaped slaves in Hampton, he burned down the town. Local soldiers, led by Capt. Jefferson C. Phillips, completed this “loathsome yet patriotic act,” on the evening of August 7, 1862. Phillips reported that his men “went immediately to work. Ö Flames were seen bursting from the buildings on all sides till it appeared that the town was one mass of flames from one end to another.” Federal Lt. Charles Brewster, shocked by this scorched-earth policy, wrote, Such a picture of war and desolation I never saw nor thought of and hope I shall not again. I pass through the courtyard round the celebrated Hampton [St. Johnís] Church, the oldest one in use in the United States, it is completely destroyed all but the walls and they are useless.

The walls remained strong enough to be repaired, with donations from all over the country. In 1869 services resumed, and St. Johnís Church stands today as the only building to survive the burning of Hampton.

Henry Cary, Jr., built St. Johnís Church, the oldest building in Hampton, in 1728. It is the fourth such structure to serve Elizabeth City Parish, which was established in 1610 and is Americaís oldest active parish in the Anglican Communion.
West Queen St & High Court Ln Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, July 31, 2010
2. West Queen St & High Court Ln
St. Johnís has the oldest communion service in continuous use in America; it was made in London in 1618 and assigned to the parish in 1627. The churchís cruciform plan features fine Flemish-bond brickwork with glazed headers. St. Johnís suffered greatly from wars. It was damaged during the bombardment of Hampton in 1775, and British troops ransacked it and used it as a barracks during the War of 1812. Renovated in 1830, the church faced its greatest threat during the Civil War.
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 37° 1.533′ N, 76° 20.795′ W. Marker is in Hampton, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of West Queens Way and High Court Lane, on the right when traveling east on West Queens Way. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hampton VA 23669, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named St. John's Church (a few steps from this marker); Hampton Confederate Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Elizabeth City Parish (within shouting distance of this marker); Virginia Laydon
St. Johnís Church (front) Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, July 31, 2010
3. St. Johnís Church (front)
(within shouting distance of this marker); Hampton Courthouse (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); McDowell's Inn (about 700 feet away); The Courthouse (about 700 feet away); The Northeast Corner (about 700 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Hampton.
More about this marker. On the left are images of “Gen. John B. Magruder” and “Capt. Jefferson C. Phillips”.

On the upper right is a photograph of the “Ruins of St. Johnís Church and graveyard” – Courtesy Library of Congress

On the lower right is a watercolor carrying the caption, “Front view of St. Johnís Church. Destroyed with the town of Hampton by the rebels under Gen. Magruder. Watercolr by Lt. Robert K. Sneden.” – Copyright Virginia Historical Society, 1977
Also see . . .  Brief History of St. John's Episcopal Church. (Submitted on August 1, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesChurches, Etc.Colonial EraNotable BuildingsWar of 1812War, US CivilWar, US Revolutionary
St. Johnís Church (rear) Photo, Click for full size
By Bernard Fisher, July 31, 2010
4. St. Johnís Church (rear)
Hampton, Virginia. Ruins of old church Photo, Click for full size
circa 1862
5. Hampton, Virginia. Ruins of old church
Library of Congress [LC-B815- 1244]
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 916 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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