Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

016-0011 Grace Episcopal Church

Grace Episcopal Church
Photo credit: Elizabeth Lipford/DHR, 2023

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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 06/21/2018

NRHP Listing Date 01/14/2019

NRHP Reference Number SG100003313

Grace Episcopal Church is an early Caroline County example of Greek Revival architecture applied to an ecclesiastical building. After its initial construction by neighboring planters between 1833-34 in a simple colonial style, in 1853 Greek Revival elements were added—most notably on the exterior front entrance and inside a rear addition built to house a recessed chancel. An upper gallery was installed as well for enslaved and freemen in the area to attend worship services. Those 1850s changes reflect resurgence in Episcopal Church worship wherein a central altar focused on services emphasizing ceremony and the ritual of the sacrament of holy communion over preaching from the pulpit, the more dominant form of worship during the colonial era. Grace Episcopal Church served as a Civil War Confederate hospital and headquarters for Gen. Robert Rodes. After the war, the 1875 painting “The Ascension of Christ” by Arthur Pierson was installed in the chancel behind the altar where it is back lit by a window, a move suggestive of the more decorative religious elements that appeared in churches during the postbellum era.

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: February 13, 2023