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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Burlington in Burlington County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Old St. Mary's Church

 
 
Old St. Mary's Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Thomas Anderson, April 22, 2021
1. Old St. Mary's Church Marker
Inscription.  The development of the St. Mary's property began in 1695 with the purchase of land for a burying ground on the west side of Wood Street. In 1702, another lot, located between the original lot and Broad Street, was purchased, providing land for the erection of a church. Construction on Old St. Mary's Church, the first purpose-built house of worship for a Church of England congregation in the state of New Jersey, began in 1702. The cornerstone was laid on March 1703 and the building was completed in 1705. To meet the increasing need for space as the congregation grew steadily, the building’s original meeting house form was enlarged in 1769 in both length and width. The design for the enlargement may be attributed to Robert Smith, the leading builder/architect in Philadelphia in the third quarter of the eighteenth century. With the Colony’s Declaration of Independence in 1776, the church was closed due to its association with the Church of England. It remained so until 1784, when it began its activities again as part of the newly formed Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America.

As the church continued to recover and
Old St. Mary's Church image. Click for full size.
By Thomas Anderson, April 22, 2021
2. Old St. Mary's Church
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grow after the Revolutionary War, the congregation agreed on the expansion and alteration of the church. In 1810-1811, the interior was altered and an apse for a new chancel was added on the eastern end. This work was accomplished according to the design of noted architect Robert Mills. In 1834-35, the church was enlarged one more time with the addition of new sections on the north and south sides of the building forming the transept and crossing and the new sections forming the nave and sacristy. The new south side exterior front was designed in the Greek revival style by architect Isaac Holden.

In 1847, while New St. Mary’s Church was under construction, galleries were added in the west transept and in the north end of the nave in Old St. Mary’s Church to accommodate the continually increasing congregation. With the completion of New St. Mary’s Church in 1854, the old church was no longer needed for regular worship services.

In 1875, Old St. Mary’s Church was altered on the interior. In the new configuration, the earlier sections of the building (1703-1711) became a Sunday School room, while the north 1834 addition became a Parish School room and the south addition became a Bible Classroom and Parish library. These changes involved stripping the walls and ceilings completely away, replacing the roof and roof structure, and installing completely new structure
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and finishes, including a partition wall between the new Parish and Sunday School rooms. These changes were designed by architect William D. Hewitt. The building underwent a comprehensive restoration in 1999-2000. Today Old St. Mary’s Church is one of the oldest extant churches in New Jersey.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Churches & Religion. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1703.
 
Location. 40° 4.632′ N, 74° 51.642′ W. Marker is in Burlington, New Jersey, in Burlington County. Marker is on Broad Street near Wood Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Burlington NJ 08016, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Grant House (within shouting distance of this marker); Office of the Council of Proprietors and the Surveyor General (within shouting distance of this marker); Founding of St. Mary’s Parish (within shouting distance of this marker); New St. Mary’s (within shouting distance of this marker); New St. Mary's Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Mary's Churchyard (about 300 feet away); Elias Boudinot (about 500 feet away); Ockanickon (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burlington.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 5, 2021, by Thomas Anderson of Haddon Township, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 40 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 5, 2021, by Thomas Anderson of Haddon Township, New Jersey. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 19, 2021