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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bath in Beaufort County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

St. Thomas Church

 
 
St. Thomas Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 10, 2013
1. St. Thomas Church Marker
Inscription. Episcopal. Oldest church building in the state of North Carolina; was constructed in 1734.
 
Erected 2012 by North Carolina Office of Archives and History. (Marker Number B-3.)
 
Location. 35° 28.453′ N, 76° 48.776′ W. Marker is in Bath, North Carolina, in Beaufort County. Marker is on Craven Street 0.1 miles east of South Main Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bath NC 27808, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Garzia (a few steps from this marker); Alexander Stewart (within shouting distance of this marker); John F. Tompkins (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Post Road (about 600 feet away); Edward Teach (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Public Library (approx. 0.2 miles away); Palmer - Marsh House (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Lawson (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bath.
 
Regarding St. Thomas Church. St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Bath is not only the oldest church building in North Carolina, but is one of the few churches from the colonial period still in use today. Intertwined with the colorful history of
St. Thomas Church Marker looking east on Craven Street image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, April 19, 2013
2. St. Thomas Church Marker looking east on Craven Street



historic Bath, St. Thomas Church is among the most popular landmarks in the region.

St. Thomas was center of the community during the colonial period. Although Anglican priests often journeyed through the area, the town of Bath, incorporated in 1705, was not to receive a permanent place of worship until 1734, when the Reverend John Garzia oversaw construction of the new building. St. Thomas was a missionary church, supporting congregations in the region and operating a nearby school for Indians and slaves. After construction, the church also housed the first public library in the state, as Thomas Bray donated over one thousand books and pamphlets in 1701.

The church structure is similar to that of other Anglican churches of the period, based on English designs but with rustic features indicative of the colonial frontier. The basic single-room structure is housed within a rectangle of Flemish Bond bricks, probably fired in Edenton. The original hipped roof was replaced after storm winds destroyed much of the church in 1840. The interior consisted of pews elevated slightly above a stone-tiled floor, with a raised pulpit facing the pews. The church endured several stages of renovation over the years, spanning the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The building remains in use and houses an active congregation. The clergy retain a
St. Thomas Church & Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 10, 2013
3. St. Thomas Church & Marker
small collection of prized items assembled over the centuries, including a silver chalice and two silver candelabra, donated by King George II. With plans for additional restorative work and expansion on the horizon, the clergy and congregation of St. Thomas Church look to the future with a hallowed respect for the past. (North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources)
 
Also see . . .  St. Thomas Episcopal Church. In 1696 Bath County was established and St. Thomas Parish was formed soon afterwards. (Submitted on August 12, 2013, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 12, 2013, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 276 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on August 12, 2013, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   2. submitted on August 12, 2013, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   3. submitted on August 12, 2013, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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