St. Peter’s Church in New Kent County is one of America’s most engaging works of colonial architecture. The main body was constructed in 1701-03 by William Hughes, carpenter, and Cornelius Hall, bricklayer, and employs the simple rectangular plan characteristic of Virginia’s earliest Anglican churches. The influence of the Jacobean Baroque style is evident in its restored curvilinear gables. The tower, with its sparkling glazed-header Flemish bond, was added in 1739-41 by William Walker, and has baroque vestiges in the molded brick cornices, massive corner pilasters, and the four pedestals topped by crude stuccoed urns, one of which is a chimney. The interior of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church suffered the loss of most all original fabric in the course of its nearly three-century history but was carefully reconstructed in 1964-65 in a restoration directed by Harden de Valson Pratt. St. Peter’s was the parish church of Martha Washington during her youth.
The Saint Peter’s Parish Church was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 2012. The distinctive architectural features of St. Peter’s support its nomination as an exceptional architectural specimen for the early colonial period. The church is significant as it represents the transition from “artisan mannerism” of the 17th century, to the “neat and plain” neoclassical style characteristic of the 18th century found in later colonial-era churches. St. Peters represents an extraordinary rare example of ecclesiastical architecture built prior to the period when the neoclassical Georgian style dominated the architecture of the American colonies.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark
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