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Sunday, January 13, 2013

St. Luke's: The Oldest Standing Church of England Building in America

St. Luke's

Another view
During a recent trip to the Virginia penninsula we took advantage of the opportunity to travel back to North Carolina via the historic town of Smithfield, Virginia. We picked up geocaches along the way. As we approached Smithfield we stopped to see St. Luke's Church. This building is the oldest church of England church building in the New World. It is also the oldest example of Gothic architecture in America. It was built in 1632 and was previously called "The Old Brick Church" until taking on its current name in 1820. It served as the meeting location in County Isle of Wight for the General Court of the Colony. Contemporary to the settlements around Smithfield and the Old Brick Church was the historic Jamestown settlement. People like Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, John Rolfe and Powhatan would have been well-known to the settlers who met at the church.

We got to the church before the historical society that maintains it was open. We walked around the grounds and snapped pictures of the church. We also met the requirements for the virtual cache located on the grounds. Be sure to check out Smithfield's Other Claim to Fame (GCH51T). When the gift shop opened we made a quick visit. We didn't have time nor did we wish to spend the money to tour the inside of the church. While there we were able to cross a small earthen dam a nearby graveyard (St Luke's Memorial Park) just across the pond. There's another geocache there. Check out J6 - GCHR Battleship. Have fun in Smithfield!
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