Christ Church, Millwood Yesteryear
During the early years of the nineteenth century, nearly every Episcopal church from the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley into what is now West Virginia was established by the Rt. Rev. William Meade, third Bishop of Virginia, and fifth rector of our parish.
In April 1829, a committee was appointed comprising William Meade, Allen Williams, David Meade and Treadwell Smith, which called upon the Vestry to form a committee that would propose a plan of enlargement of Old Chapel, together with estimated costs. In the years that followed, such plan was proposed, but subsequently abandoned when a proposal was advanced to erect a new church at a yet more convenient site. According to Bishop Meade [Old Chapel, Volume II, page 288], "...it was found that the Old Chapel was too small and inconvenient for the increasing congregation, and it was therefore determined to erect another and a larger one in a more central and convenient place in the vicinity of Millwood."
The lot of two acres on which Christ Church stands was given for the purpose of building the church by Mr. George Burwell, of Carter Hall, which is situated across Bishop Meade Road from Christ Church and today serves as home to Project Hope. The deed by which the lot was conveyed to the trustees of the
church is dated April 18, 1832; however while building commenced that year, there are no records indicating the actual construction of Christ Church, Millwood, neither who built it nor at what cost. Construction neared completion towards the end of 1832, and a service was held to consecrate Christ Church Millwood on Christmas Day of that year. Building at the site was concluded in 1834.
During 1836, Clarke County separated from Frederick County, and without ceremony or other formality or designation, the church in Millwood became known as Christ Church. The official title as listed in the Convention Journal is Christ Church and Old Chapel, Frederick Parish in Clarke County. Hugh M. Nelson of Long Branch became the first layman to serve at Christ Church.
Following the shift of most of the congregation to Christ Church, Millwood, the number of faithful Old Chapel parishoners dwindled and services at Old Chapel became less frequent, evolving into little more than a record of those who, from time to time, have been buried in the Old Chapel Cemetery. To ensure continuity of use, the Parish Vestry resolved at its March 29, 1853 Meeting "that the Rector be requested to hold two services annually at Old Chapel, one in the spring and one in the fall." Today, the Christ Church congregation attends services at Old Chapel on Easter Day and on the second Sunday in September.
Source: Old Chapel and The Parish in Clarke County, Virginia, A History From the Founding of Frederick Parish, 1738 to the Centenary of Christ Church, Millwood, 1932, authored by B. Duvall Chambers, Rector. This extract has been condensed and edited. A copy of Rev. Chambers' book is available in the Parish Hall Library at Christ Church, 809 Bishop Meade Road, Millwood, VA.
Christ Church, Millwood Today...
Following a fire in 1947, Christ Church was rebuilt and is attributed as being one of the county’s finest stone churches of the Gothic Revival style. The church complex includes the Greek Revival-style Bishop’s Chapel (circa 1852) and a Colonial Revival-style rectory (circa 1910), which today serves as a Parish Hall.
Behind and Beyond Christ Church...
- The Old Rectory, turned Parish Hall
- Bishops Chapel, which today doubles as Christ Cares Food Pantry. The administrative office of Christ Church, Millwood are now in the Parish House (formerly called the Rectory).
- Memorial Garden
- Profiles of the Ministers of Cunningham Parish, 1811-1934