Photo credit: Library of Congress , date unknown

Property Name: Christ Episcopal Church and Cemetery
Date Listed: 4/12/1984
Inventory No.: D-140
Location: Church & High Streets, Cambridge, Dorchester County

Description: Christ Episcopal Church is a large stone structure built between 1883 and 1884 in the Gothic Revival style. The church is built of green serpentine stone on a cruciform plan. The southeast end of the nave, facing High Street, is marked by a large rose window above five smaller rectangular windows. The most prominent feature of the church is the impressive tower with its steeply pitched spire which stands at the southwest corner of the church. The principal entrance to the church is located on the south side of this tower, with secondary entrances located on a small eastern porch and on the south side of the east transept. The interior is cruciform in plan with side aisles and a vaulted ceiling. Much of the decoration, including that found on the capitals, pews, and church furnishings is Gothic in inspiration. The adjoining cemetery is enclosed on three sides by a brick wall, parts of which date to the 1790s. It abuts directly on the sidewalk on High Street, unlike the church itself which is set back from the street. Within the cemetery are gravestones of various shapes and sizes which range in date from 1674 to the present. The church is virtually unchanged from its original appearance and neither the exterior nor the richly appointed interior has undergone significant alteration. The only exceptions to this include the construction of the Barber Memorial Hall at the northeast corner of the church in 1896 and the installation of several stained glass windows in the 1950s. The Barber Hall was constructed of the same material as the church and therefore does not detract from the original appearance of the building.

Significance: Christ Episcopal Church, built between 1883 and 1884, is significant for two reasons. As an example of late Victorian Gothic Revival architecture, Christ Church is unsurpassed elsewhere in Cambridge or Dorchester County. Designed by the prominent 19th century Baltimore architect Charles Cassell, Christ Church reflects both the architectural sophistication of its clergy and congregation and the preference of the Episcopal Church in general for the Gothic style. In addition, Christ Church, the parish church for Great Choptank Parish, has played an important role in the history of Cambridge and Dorchester County. Its parishioners have included five governors of Maryland, a state Attorney General, an Ambassador to the Netherlands, local judges and lawyers and several U.S. Congressmen. These men, along with numerous local heroes of the Revolutionary War, are buried in the adjoining cemetery, making it one of the most historically interesting religious complexes in the state.




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