St. Mary's City in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Sacred Ground and Holy Buildings
"their houses are built in an halfe ovall forme...with a place open in the top...whereby they...let forth the smoake...in one of these houses we now doe celebrate, haveing it dressed a little better then by the Indians, till we get a better, which shall be shortly as may be:"
In A Briefe Relation of the Voyage unto Maryland, 1634, Father Andrew White described an Indian house that served as the first chapel. That structure was not located where the Brick Chapel stands today.
The Jesuits who came with the first colonists surveyed, in 1639, a 25-acre tract they identified as "Chapel Land." There are hints about a wooden chapel being used by both Catholics and Protestants for services during the first years of the settlement. Between 1639 and 1642, there are vague references to a "New Chappell." Lord Baltimore began arrangements to purchase that structure, the surrounding land, and other buildings from the Jesuits in 1643.
Occasional statements about a chapel in the area are found in later documents. A 1675 estate record instructed that a husband and wife were to be buried within the church. A 1678 will lists a bequest to be used for the "purchase of ornaments for the Church at St. Mary's."
In 1697, there are two specific references to a brick structure. One notes that the Jesuits "have a good brick Chappell," while the other reports four chapels in the county, including a brick one. Mary's capital was relocated to Annapolis in 1695 and the Brick Chapel was locked in 1704.
The said Mr William Hunter and Mr Robert Brooke appeared and are told on what occasion they were called before his Excy—Mr William Hunter give his Excy many thanks for the opportunity of appearing before his Excy and says he is very sorry for any annoyance in his Conduct as to his consecrating the Chappel—he did not Consecrate it for that is an Episcopal [bishop's] Function and that no body was present but himself in his common Priests vestments...
Assembly Proceedings, September 1704
The terms chapel and church are used somewhat interchangeably in the written record of St. Mary's City. In the 17th century, a church served a parish. A chapel might be established in a large parish if it was too far for people to easily get to church. Churches were consecrated by a bishop. Chapels were generally not. The Brick Chapel of 1667 was never consecrated because there were no bishops in Maryland in the 17th century.
Erected by Historic St. Mary's City.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Notable Buildings.
Location. 38° 10.992′ N, 76° 25.714′ W. Marker is in St. Mary's City, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker can be reached from Point Lookout Road (Maryland Route 5) 0.4 miles west of Rosecroft Road, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 16721 Point Lookout Road, Saint Marys City MD 20686, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Brick Chapel's History (here, next to this marker); "...buried...in a most solemn manner" (here, next to this marker); Project Lead Coffins (here, next to this marker); Putting Together the Pieces (here, next to this marker); The Chapel Architecture (here, next to this marker); An End of Freedom but Persistence of Faith (here, next to this marker); Andrew White, Apostle to Maryland (here, next to this marker); An Experiment with Liberty of Conscience (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Mary's City.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 2, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 2, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 47 times since then. Photo 1. submitted on September 2, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.