Bruton Parish Church

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Among the men of the Revolution who attended Bruton Parish Church were Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Richard Henry Lee, George Wythe, Patrick Henry, and George Mason. But the building's history, and that of its churchyard, goes back further in time.

Dating from 1715, the present structure is the third in a series of Anglican houses of worship that began in 1660. The first, which may or may not have been at or near the 18th-century site, was built, probably of wood, in the Old Fields at Middle Plantation, Williamsburg's name until the 66-year-old community was incorporated in 1699.

Formed from Middletown and Marston Parishes in 1674, Bruton Parish was about 10 miles square. It is named for Bruton, Somersetshire, in England, the home
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Page also donated £200. The contract was let in June 1681 and the building, which stood a few steps northwest of the 1715 church, was complete by November 29, 1683. Its buried foundations remain. The first rector, the Reverend Rowland Jones, dedicated the structure on January 6, 1684.

The church stood near the center of Williamsburg's original survey map drawn 15 years later. Its location suggested the church's importance to the colonial community's life, but the building was already in disrepair. On November 21, 1710, the vestry declared its condition ruinous and proposed construction of a third church. The vestry submitted a plan for one large enough to meet only the needs of parish residents and invited the colony's government to finance an enlargement to accommodate its officers and others who came to the capital when the General Assembly sat.

Virginia General Assembly approved financing of larger new building

The house approved a £200 grant December 5, 1710, to be financed from the taxes on liquor and
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Notables buried beneath church

Among the Williamsburg notables buried beneath the marble flagstones inside the church was Governor Francis Fauquier, one of the best loved of the colonial governors, who died in 1768.

The same year an English organ was installed. Gaolkeeper Peter Pelham was hired to play it for £25 a year, a position he held until about 1802. Pelham brought to church with him a prisoner from the Gaol, whose job it was to pump the instrument. The organ remained in service until 1835. The present organ, the church's fourth, was presented by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1954.

In 1761, merchant James Tarpley presented the church with a bell. Bids for a steeple or belfry to house the bell were let on January 1, 1769. The vestry awarded a £410 contract for a brick tower surmounted by a wooden octagon and for miscellaneous repairs to Benjamin Powell that September 14. The addition can be seen from outside the church, as the steeple bricks have a darker color than the salmon-hued bricks of the rest of the church. Tarpley's bell is still in use.

Served as hospital and storehouse during Battle of