St. Thomas Episcopal Church Collection

Stewart Bell Jr. Archives Room
Handley Regional Library / Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society

St. Thomas Episcopal Church Collectionm, 721 THL

Scope and Content: This collection is comprised of a history of St. Thomas Episcopal Church of Middletown, VA, articles of incorporation (1967), Parish Register from 1880 to 1932, and a vestry book from 1838. (1 box) Last updated 00/03.

Biographical/Historical: Originally built as a house of worship for Episcopalians living in Middletown, VA and the surrounding area known as Vaucluse, St. Thomas Church was built in 1834 by C.B. Hite of Belle Grove and his neighbors in the architectural style of York Cathedral in North Yorkshire, England. The first service was held in 1836 on its completion. During the Civil War, the church served as a hospital, while its members worshipped at Grace Methodist Church in town. When Sheridan tore through the Shenandoah Valley, he and his troops ran the sick and disabled Confederates out of the church hospital. The Union troops burned the pews and shutters and knocked out the windows. When they were finished, only the four walls of the church were standing. A group of dedicated members rebuilt the small church, financing it themselves.

Services were held regularly until 1930, then they became irregular until 1945. Finally in 1946, the church was closed and abandoned. In 1967 the name was changed to St. Thomas Chapel and became an inter-faith church. The new organization restored the building, laying new floor, replacing the Gothic windows, and refinishing the old pews. They restored the original organ and installed central heating and electricity. Later, the bell tower and steeple were restored. St. Thomas is now a registered Virginia Historical Landmark and registered as one of the National Historical Place.

Cite As: St. Thomas Episcopal Church Collection, #721 WFCHS, Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library, Winchester, VA.

Organization:

Box 1

Articles of incorporation - St. Thomas Chapel Trust, May 1967, 1 item, 9 leaves, typescript (copy)

Civil War Damage ? Court Case and Legislation ? 1904 ? 1905, 5 items ? printed (photocopy)

"Congressional Record for the Relief of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church of Middletown, Frederick County, VA" 1 item manuscript and typescript (photocopy), records of 1904 ?1905, photocopied and bound by St. Thomas Chapel Trust in 1974

Dedication of St. Thomas Bulletin for Service, September 6, 1970 ? 1 item printed

History - "St. Thomas Chapel, Middletown, Virginia," no author, no date, 3 leaves, typescript (photocopy), news clipping ? 1 item, printed

Loose papers from Parish Register ? 1893-1930, 6 leaves, manuscript (photocopy); 5 leaves, typescript (photocopy)

St. Thomas Chapel Trust - brochure, no date, 1 item, printed

"St. Thomas Episcopal Church," [by W. F. Shipe], no date, 20 leaves, typescript (copy)
List of communicants - 1850 and 1866
List of baptisms - 1846, 1866, 1883, 1905

Parish register, 1849-1878, 34 leaves, manuscript (photocopy)

Parish register, 1881-1946,
4 leaves, printed (photocopy);
34 leaves, manuscript on printed form (photocopy)

"Registers of St. Thomas?s Church 1849-1912." 1 item (manuscript)

Vestry book, 1838-1887, includes minutes of vestry meetings, 38 leaves, manuscript (photocopy)