MHT File Photo
St. Paul's Church
Sandy Bottom Road, Sandy Bottom, Kent County
Saint Paul's Church is surrounded by a graveyard with a few of its stones bearing 18th century dates. The church measures 30' x 40' with a semicircular apse on the east gable. After 1841, a robing room was built on the north side of the apse, which was enlarged in 1967. Around 1908, an organ room was built on the north side of the nave. Facing west, St. Paul's entrance gable is laid in Flemish bond brickwork interrupted only by the semicircular arched entrance and window above. A pair of rectangular doors closes beneath the arched panel with quatrefoil fret. The window has 4/4 sash and appears to have been lengthened from its original size. There is a slight kick to the eaves, as in several churches in Virginia. An overhanging eave is a 19th century feature, as are the cornice returns with their shaped modillions. On the south side the original cornice with plain modillion blocks can be seen. This facade is also laid in Flemish bond and is interrupted by two wide, semi-circular arched windows and a former entrance with arches of rubbed and gauged brick. The west window has a pair of 9/9 sash windows with a panel above like that of the west entrance and a pair of louvered blinds. The east window is completely filled with a stained glass representation of Christ bearing a lamb, installed in 1912. A brick chimney rises nearly in the center of the wall. Glazed headers enliven the Flemish bond of the east apse. In the center of the apse is a large opening, which is arched and has a three-part 19th century window with semicircular headed units. The stained glass has the symbols of the Trinity, Holy Spirit, and the Episcopal Shield. A conical roof covers the apse. West of the church, along the road, stands the 18th century vestry house. As is evident from the glazed date in the north gable, the one-story brick building was constructed in 1766. The initials IOT beneath the date probably identify the builder. Each side facade is identical, with two windows with 6/6 sash and paneled shutters and a paneled central door. There is an exterior chimney on the south end of the building and an interior chimney on the north end. Both facades are laid in Flemish bond with glazed headers. Inside, the only features original to the building are the two fireplaces. Paneling, plaster, and the brick paving are additions/restorations of the 1960s.
St. Paul's architectural significance lies in the fact that it is the earliest existing Episcopal church building on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, except for the restored Trinity Church, Church Creek. The brickwork, semicircular apse, and original fenestration are rare survivors from the early 18th century. St. Paul’s is an obvious amalgam of three centuries of growth and change and boasts of that character. Its vestry building is a remarkable survivor from the 18th century, and the graveyard is the handsomest on the Eastern Shore because of the huge boxwood and oak trees and its location adjacent to a mill pond. From the standpoint of religion, St. Paul's is one of the first parishes established by the Colonial Assembly in 1692 for the dissemination of the Church of England throughout the province. It has remained an active parish from that time.