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April 16, 2019



Thank you for covering Rock Creek Parish and Cemetery! A couple of additional notes:

The history of the Anglican Church in Maryland is of course quite different than it was in Virginia. In Maryland, the Church of England was only established (as in, became the official church) in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution, when England cracked down on the Catholic-founded, religiously tolerant Maryland because of ecclesiastical politics at home. So the founding of an Anglican parish in the 1690s, with offshoots and daughter churches in the next couple of decades, is no coincidence. In Maryland, the whole apparatus of Anglican parishes and their glebes as part of the administrative structure of the colony dates from that time.

The St. Paul's vestry's decision to allot about 2/3 of its glebe to the formation of a cemetery (as opposed to the longstanding churchyard right around the church itself) was part of the Rural or Garden Cemetery movement of the mid-19th century, as was Georgetown's somewhat earlier Oak Hill. Rock Creek Cemetery was nonsectarian from the beginning and was designed, successfully, to attract Washington's elite to spend eternity there. The conjunction of a nonsectarian Garden Cemetery with a still-functioning Episcopal parish and churchyard, all within a glebe, is, as you note, pretty nifty. For many decades, the cemetery supported the parish; now, with most of the cemetery plots sold and the old endowments not up to modern expenses, both church and cemetery sometimes struggle to make ends meet. It doesn't help that church is nestled deep in the glebe, which is tucked away where traffic whizzes by on North Capitol Street on one side and the gate is not easy to find amid neighborhood streets on the other, but it is well worth seeking out. The tours they offer during WalkingTown DC each year are fantastic.

Jaybird's Jottings

Thank you for a wonderful and informative reply!

I’ve often hoped for a book that would compare and contrast the religious approaches in colonial Virginia and Maryland.



Jay, me too! Or even just a history of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, which would be more manageable, since Anglicanism in Virginia is already so well documented. I worked a bit on Rock Creek Parish's history for its 300th anniversary celebrations in 2012 and in that context started looking at the prehistory of the Diocese of Washington, which wasn't created until 1895. Maybe I'll undertake such a thing, after that novel I've been meaning to write...


Jaybird's Jottings

Sounds good Carin!

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