“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Downtown Hampton in Hampton, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Little England Chapel and Newtown

African-American Missionary Chapel


— Explore Hampton 2010: From the Sea to the Stars —

Little England Chapel and Newtown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
1. Little England Chapel and Newtown Marker
Little England Chapel, the only extant African-American missionary chapel in Virginia at the time of its selection as a state historic landmark in 1982, had its beginning in about 1878, when George C. Rowe began Sunday school classes in his home for children in Cock's Newton. Southern blacks in search of freedom had flocked to Union-protected Hampton and, after 1865, began settling in Newtown, the area to the east of this Chapel, purchasing lots from Daniel Cock, Charles Smith, Edward Whitehouse, and William N. Armstrong.

Originally known as the Ocean Cottage Sunday School, Rowe's Sunday-schooling proved to be so important for freed slaves previously deprived of education that by the summer of 1878, classes were held in a "bush arbor" with 10 rows of seating. The next year, possibly built by Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute students, the Chapel made its appearance on what was a country road. The Hampton Normal students continued to play an active role in the chapel, rowing across Hampton River each week to teach Sunday school classes, a practice they continued for half a century.

By 1890, the chapel also had an active

Little England Chapel image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 6, 2021
2. Little England Chapel
sewing club, offered worship services and concerts, and served as a community center for the neighborhood. The building, which includes some original 19th century furnishings, contains a permanent exhibit that helps visitors appreciate the religious lives of post-Civil War African Americans. It is both a state and a national historic landmark.

The Newtown Improvement Club was founded in 1940s to deal with community issues. In 1954, Frederick and Louise Cock deeded the chapel to the club, "to be used by the Congregation of the Newtown Improvement Club for non-denominational religious purposes."
Erected 2010 by Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansChurches & ReligionEducation. In addition, it is included in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities 🎓 series list.
Location. 37° 0.787′ N, 76° 21.162′ W. Marker is in Downtown Hampton in Hampton, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of Kecoughtan Road (U.S. 60) and Ivy Home Road, on the right when traveling north on Kecoughtan Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4100 Kecoughtan Rd, Hampton VA 23669, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Little England Chapel (a few steps from this marker); Little England

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(approx. half a mile away); Wythe’s Birthplace (approx. half a mile away); Edward Braddock (approx. 0.6 miles away); First Church at Kecoughtan (approx. 0.7 miles away); First Battle of Ironclads (approx. 0.9 miles away); Stalemate in Hampton Roads (approx. 0.9 miles away); Crabtown (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Downtown Hampton.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 29 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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Feb. 28, 2021