Photo credit: Donna Ware , 1990

Property Name: Christ Church
Date Listed: 6/18/1973
Inventory No.: AA-221
Location: Owensville Sudley Road, West River, Anne Arundel County

Description: Christ Church is a small, board-and-batten church with a long narrow nave, small deep chancel, and an entrance porch on the south side. The altar faces the west. The sharply pointed, gable-roofed entrance porch with its pointed archway is paralleled by a slightly bell-cast, pointed-gable sacristy of about the same size. Behind the sacristy is a tall, narrow bell tower with an open belfry. The pointed arches of this belfry support a modified broach spire roofed with fish-scale shingling. Small rectangular window openings frame stained glass lancet windows. There are three similar lancets above the altar in the east wall of the chancel. The west entrance forms a passageway to a similar board-and-batten parish hall, which runs at right angles to the main church. This parish hall may be recent, although it blends perfectly with the style of the church. The rather stark interior of the church has a central aisle, "poppy headed" pews, and dark wood cross-trussing in the ceiling. There is a large churchyard to the north of the church.

Significance: Although sometimes reputed to be by the noted church architect, Richard Upjohn, Christ Church was at least built from his published designs of 1852. This book presented architect-designed plans for rural parishes, with the result that some of the finest "Upjohn churches" are these small board-and-batten structures of rural parishes. They represent America's own version of the "Parish Perpendicular." In a very good state of preservation in which the 19th century feeling has been retained, Christ Church was built between 1867 and 1869 according to Ecclesiological principles with a long, narrow, and high nave, and a deep chancel--the hallmark of Upjohn's ecclesiastical work for Episcopal churches. Upjohn treated other Protestant denominations differently.




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