Michael O. Bourne
St. Luke's Episcopal Church
Church Lane, Church Hill, Queen Annes County
Built between 1729 and 1732, St. Luke's Episcopal Church is one story high, five bays long and three bays wide, with brick exterior walls laid in Flemish bond with glazed headers. Narrow buttresses separate the windows on the side; the tall windows, topped with semicircular brick arches, have 22/16 sash, and were originally partially shuttered. The church was constructed with three entrances: large doors in the centers of the north and south walls, and a smaller slaves' entrance in the west end. The side entrances have been converted into windows, however, and the west door enlarged to form the main entrance. Here, double doors with fanlight give access to a square Italianate tower that was added in 1881, and which features narrow, recessed windows on its second-story level, decorative brickwork below the cornice and a low hip roof. The gambrel roof of the main structure is distinctive in itself, and its use on the semicircular apse, as well, is an unusual feature on the Eastern Shore. It is covered with cypress shingles and has a simple wooden cornice. The roof originally featured a bell cote on the west gable that supported a 180-pound bell; this was removed, however, only ten years after the building was completed.
One of the oldest colonial Episcopal churches still in use, St. Luke's Church in Church Hill is interesting both from the standpoint of architecture and of history. The design of the building, featuring a gambrel roof, high barrel vault ceiling and semicircular apse, is unusual for the period: only two other 18th century Maryland churches, for instance, incorporate the semicircular apse, known at the time as the "circle." St. Luke's is made more distinctive by the use of a gambrel roof on both the main structure and the apse.