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
The Fifth Church and Tower
The fourth church burned on September 19, 1676, during Bacon’s Rebellion. By 1686, a new church was built using the walls and foundations of the older charred church. The tower of this church is the only 17th-century structure still standing at Jamestown. Abandoned in the 1750s, the fifth church fell into ruin by the 1790s. Although the tower remained intact, bricks from other portions of the church were reused to build the present graveyard wall.
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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Colonial Era.
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. Marker is in the "Old Towne" section of the Historic Jamestown unit of Colonial National Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Williamsburg VA 23185, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Pocahontas (a few steps from this marker); Storehouse & First Well (a few steps from this marker); Jamestown (within shouting distance of this marker); The Tombstones (within shouting distance of this marker); The Tombs of James and Sarah Blair (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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Williamsburg.
Also see . . .
1. Historic Jamestowne. Colonial National Historic Park from National Park Service website. (Submitted on March 15, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
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. (Submitted on March 15, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on March 15, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,131 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on March 15, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 6. submitted on July 23, 2012, by Joe Harness of Little Egg Harbor, New Jersey.