Stewart Bell Jr. Archives
Monday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Stewart Bell Jr. Archives Room
Handley Regional Library
Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society
P.O. Box 58, Winchester, VA 22604
(540) 662-9041 ext. 17
Inventory created by Archives Staff 07/2003. Last revised 03/2019.
ACCESS RESTRICTIONS: Collection is open to all researchers.
USE RESTRICTIONS: Restrictions may apply concerning the use, photoduplication, or publication of items in this collection. Consult a member of the archives staff for information concerning these restrictions. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright.
EXTENT: 0.42 linear feet
DATE: 1837 - 1967
SCOPE AND CONTENT: The St. Thomas Episcopal Church Collection comprises a history of St. Thomas Episcopal Church of Middletown, VA, articles of incorporation (1967), a Parish Register from 1880 to 1932, and a vestry book from 1838.
BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL: C.B. Hite of Belle Grove and his neighbors began building St. Thomas Church in 1834 to serve Episcopalians living in Middletown, VA, and the surrounding area, known as Vaucluse. The church is built in the architectural style of York Cathedral in North Yorkshire, England. The first service took place upon its completion in 1837.
During the Civil War, the church served as a hospital while its members worshipped at nearby Grace Methodist Church in town. Union troops who later occupied the area used the church as a stable, causing considerable damage to the interior of the building. Following the war, members of the congregation restored the building.
The church continued to be used regularly until 1930, and somewhat irregularly until 1945 as the congregation dwindled. Finally in 1946, the church was closed and abandoned. In 1967 the name was changed to St. Thomas Chapel and became an inter-faith church. The new organization restored the building, laying new floor, replacing the Gothic windows, and refinishing the old pews. They restored the original organ and installed central heating and electricity. Later, the bell tower and steeple were restored. St. Thomas is now a registered Virginia Historical Landmark and registered as one of the National Historical Place.
CITE AS: St. Thomas Episcopal Church Collection, 721 WFCHS, Stewart Bell Jr. Archives, Handley Regional Library, Winchester, VA.
ACQUISITION INFORMATION: Acquired as a gift
Articles of incorporation - St. Thomas Chapel Trust, May 1967, 1 item, 9 leaves, typescript (copy)
Civil War Damage – Court Case and Legislation – 1904 – 1905, 5 items – printed (photocopy)
“Congressional Record for the Relief of the St. Thomas Episcopal Church of Middletown, Frederick County, VA” 1 item manuscript and typescript (photocopy), records of 1904 –1905, photocopied and bound by St. Thomas Chapel Trust in 1974
Dedication of St. Thomas Bulletin for Service, September 6, 1970 – 1 item printed
History - "St. Thomas Chapel, Middletown, Virginia," no author, no date, 3 leaves, typescript (photocopy), news clipping – 1 item, printed
Loose papers from Parish Register – 1893-1930, 6 leaves, manuscript (photocopy); 5 leaves, typescript (photocopy)
St. Thomas Chapel Trust - brochure, no date, 1 item, printed
"St. Thomas Episcopal Church," [by W. F. Shipe], no date, 20 leaves, typescript (copy)
List of communicants - 1850 and 1866
List of baptisms - 1846, 1866, 1883, 1905
Parish register, 1849-1878, 34 leaves, manuscript (photocopy)
Parish register, 1881-1946,
4 leaves, printed (photocopy);
34 leaves, manuscript on printed form (photocopy)
“Registers of St. Thomas’s Church 1849-1912.” 1 item (manuscript)
Vestry book, 1838-1887, includes minutes of vestry meetings, 38 leaves, manuscript (photocopy)
PHOTOGRAPHS: Photographs belonging to this collection may be viewed through PastPerfect, which is available at http://handley.pastperfectonline.com.