St. Mary's City in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The "Priests' House"
Our excavations, in 1992 and 1993, revealed a building that appeared to have been built in two phases. The earlier phase was a cellared building, 21 feet by 16 ½ feet. It may have been built fully of brick, based on the large quantity of rubble found in the cellar. A second phase of construction had no cellar and measured about 18 feet by 28 feet.
This structure was initially built in the late 17th century and possibly enlarged in the early 18th century. Based on the amount of domestic debris recovered, it appears to have been a residence. It probably stood into the second quarter of the 18th century.
A working hypothesis is that the original domestic structure was enlarged by the attachment of a "mass room" after the royal governor had banned the use of the chapel for Catholic religious services in 1704. Chapels attached to or within houses were allowed under the anti-Catholic penal laws enacted after the overthrow of the Calvert government.
A Mass House
After the establishment of the Church of England as the official state church of Maryland, no freestanding Roman Catholic chapels or churches were built. Instead, Catholics constructed additions to their homes called "mass houses" or "mass rooms." Several examples still survive in Maryland including one at the Carroll family estate near Ellicott City called Doughoregan Manor.
Erected by Historic St. Mary's City.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Churches & Religion • Colonial Era.
Location. 38° 10.993′ N, 76° 25.717′ 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 Chapel Architecture (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); An End of Freedom but Persistence of Faith (here, next to this marker); Shock Troops of the Counter-Reformation (here, next to this marker); Andrew White, Apostle to Maryland (here, next to this marker); Sacred Ground and Holy Buildings (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 50 times since then and 10 times this year. Photo 1. submitted on September 2, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.