470 Quaker Farms Road

Christ Church

1812 (1976 #19, WPA #8)

 

 

The entry of February 10, 1812, in the old record book of St. Peters Episcopal Church states that this parish approves the erection of a chapel in Quaker Farms for the benefit of the Episcopalian Society in said district . . . provided that the Society shall never be taxed for the erection of said chapel.

 

A building committee was quickly appointed with David Tomlinson as chairman. The church was designed and built by George Boult of Southford in 1812. It is believed that the architect developed his plans from the drawings of the famous Sir Christopher Wren.

 

A unique feature of the structure is the enclosure for sheep that still can be seen under the sanctuary floor. It was hoped that the warmth of the animals housed below the congregation would help heat the room on cold days.

 

The church retains the general character of its early appearance. It is a two-and-one-half-story white clap- board structure with cornices and rakes made up of delicate moldings, small flat brackets, and dentils. The steeple is in three stages: the first, from the ground to well above the roof, is square; the second, or belfry stage, is octagonal with square-headed, louvered win- dows; and the third stage is an octagonal lantern with a domed roof. This lantern is enclosed, and each face of the octagon is enriched with a pointed arch con- taining an interesting sawed wooden motif. In 1968, it was necessary to rebuild the church steeple, and at that time the old weathervane representing a fish which had fallen years earlier was once again set in place.

 

The pointed arches in the lantern echo the second- story windows which are 12-over-12 lights with pointed heads. The first story windows, also 12-over-12 lights, have square heads. Over the main entrance, which is flanked by Doric pilasters supporting a full Doric entablature, is a handsome Palladian window with a central pointed arch.

 

One of the most impressive changes that took place in Christ Church over its history was the addition of a central chandelier of cut crystal in the 1880s. This two- hundred-year-old chandelier hung originally in St. Anns Church, Brooklyn, and was a gift of Trinity Church, Seymour.

 

Christ Church, located at 470 Quaker Farms Road, represents one of the outstanding examples of traditional New England architecture in the area.