Kirk E. Ranzetta
All Faith Church
38885, New Market Turner Road (MD 6), Charlotte Hall, Saint Marys County
All Faith Church, built between 1766 and 1769, is a one-story brick building with a wood shingle roof, oriented on an east/west axis. The building exhibits a cross-axial plan with a rear chancel. A small vestments room, added in the mid-late 19th century, is attached to the building's southeast corner. The church is constructed of brick laid in Flemish bond with a molded brick watertable. Typical of Episcopal churches of the period, the principal elevation is situated on the building's west side. This three-bay facade holds a central entrance consisting of narrow paneled double doors within a recessed round brick arch. The flanking bays each hold a 12/16 sash window with a similar round brick arch. Although the windows extend higher than the door, the tops of the three arches are level, so that the recessed brick space above the door is larger than those above each window. A tripartite Palladian window pierces the gable above the central door, composed of two 6/9 sash windows flanking a larger 18/16 single-hung sash window with a round top. A small fluted keystone highlights the top of the central window's architrave. The elevation is further embellished through a pair of cornice returns and a modillioned eave. The north and south sides of the church are five bays wide, with a central entrance composed of paneled double doors surmounted by a semicircular transom. The remaining bays hold large 18/16 round-arched single-hung sash windows. All these openings have round brick arches of the same height. The modillion cornice ornaments the eave on both sides of the building. The east gable end is pierced by a round seven-light stained-glass window in the east wall of the chancel, although evidence of the original round-arched window opening, likely matching the 18/16 sash windows elsewhere on the building, is visible in the brickwork. This change was made in the 1950s. The rear of the building and the smaller chancel have cornice returns, but no raking cornice. The modillion cornice is continued on the north and south sides of the chancel. The vestments room, located at the church's southeast corner, is constructed of 5-course common bond, and features a low hipped roof with no cornice. A single segmental-arched window of 6/6 sash pierces the room's south side. An exterior door opens on the west side. Although the pews were replaced, probably in the late 19th century, the interior retains much evidence of the church's original cross-axial plan, including sunken aisles and a remarkable series of fluted, square columns with Ionic capitals, aligned with the building's side aisles. A plastered, barrel-vault ceiling springs from the capitals. Two identical winder stairs permit entry to the gallery at the west end. A raised dais, approached by two steps, precedes the chancel. Raised above its original height probably in the late 19th century, the chancel is demarcated by a reproduced chancel rail and a communion table.
All Faith Church, built between 1766 and 1769, is significant as one of the best examples of preserved Georgian ecclesiastical design and construction in St. Mary's County. In addition to the outstanding character of its original construction, the building also embodies architectural evidence of changing liturgical practices in alterations carried out in the 19th century. All Faith Church derives additional significance for its association with builder/designers Richard Boulton and Samuel Abell, Jr., whose documented work throughout Southern Maryland includes some of the best examples of 18th century Georgian architecture in the region.