Happy 325th birthday to St. Anne’s! Still vibrant, she has occupied the highest point in town on Church Circle in Annapolis since 1692.
In addition to the many celebrations and events we have planned (as outlined below), Eric Fredland, our Archivist, is publishing a book of essays on the history of St. Anne’s gathered from the archives. The book will be offered for sale with proceeds going to St. Anne’s.
The Year of Celebration culminates in a Birthday Party to be held on Sunday, September 10 after the 9:30 AM service. Special invitations are being mailed to our legislators, dignitaries, clergy, and other special guests. Mark your calendars!
More information will be published in the Church Announcements, The Circle, weekly e-mail blasts and on the website. Come join in the birthday celebrations!
Anna Lib Belli
Betsy Burch Bender
Dottie Watters Earll
Mary Sutton Heald
Fritzi Riley Kenny
Mary K. Parkinson
Pat Empey Walker
Journey Through 325 Years of St. Anne’s History
On Sunday, May 14, 2017 during the announcements, our lectors began reading one-minute vignettes taking us on St. Anne’s journey from 1692 to the present. These vignettes were written by Carolyn Sullivan with much credit to St. Anne’s History and Times by William Paynter. Once read during the service, these vignettes will be published below:
May 14, 2017
It is 1692 in Maryland Province. Just three years before in Britain, the Catholic King James had been driven from the Throne of England which passed to his Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband William of Orange. This brings a new era to Maryland. Seizing their chance, the Protestants overthrow Lord Baltimore’s government and take over St. Mary’s state house. The British monarchs recognize these revolutionaries as the true government and declare Maryland a royal colony directly under the crown. The first royal Governor, Sir Lionel Copley, presides over an Assembly at St. Mary’s which votes to establish the Protestant Religion “within this Province.” The act designates 30 Church of England parishes in Maryland and levies an annual tax on each freeman of 40 pounds of tobacco. One of these parishes is Middle Neck, the territory between the Severn and South Rivers. This becomes St. Anne’s. Life is more peaceful here than four hundred and fifty miles north where the Salem Witch Trials are raging.
May 21, 2017
A local 17th century clergyman, Reverend John Yeo, laments. “Maryland Province is in a deplorable condition for want of an established church. There are 20,000 souls but only three Church of England ministers. No care is taken to build up Christians, the Lord’s day is profaned, religion is despised, and all notorious vices are committed.” The 30 parishes established in 1692 are charged with suppressing adultery, drunkenness, swearing and Sabbath-breaking. Records show they try but the government is in charge of appointing the clergy and supporting the parishes and they have other priorities. They rename Proctors Landing Anne Arundel Town, make it a port of entry, and in 1694, proclaim it the capital of Maryland. The new governor is Francis Nicholson. An able man he is a key figure in shaping Annapolis which gets its name in 1695 as a tribute to Princess Anne, the heir apparent in England. That year New York Jews are petitioning their governor Dongan for religious liberties.
May 28, 2017
In the last years of the 17th century, the new Annapolis Assembly meets at the home of Major Edward Dorsey and draws up plans to build a state house, school and church. Governor Nicholson’s streetscape sets a pair of circles on the highest ground for the state house and the church. It’s a simple declaration that the church is meant to be central in the life of the city. We only have St. Anne’s records from 1704, the earliest records were probably destroyed in a state house fire that year. How does St. Anne’s get its name? We assume it honors both the mother of the Virgin Mary and the future Queen Anne, and respects the newly named city. The first Rector is Reverend Peregrine Coney who arrives with Governor Nicholson and seven other Anglican clergymen from England. He admires the silver communion service gifted by King William which is still in use today. Coney is paid 200 pounds of tobacco for “his paines in preaching to the Assembly.” In 1696 he is named one of the founding Trustees of the new King William’s School, now St. John’s College.
June 4, 2017
Money for St. Anne’s is voted by the Assembly in 1695 and 1696. The Governor is authorized to employ workmen. Edward Dorsey is hired as the contractor but is charged with negligence, fined 200 pounds and dismissed in June 1699. The first plans call for a building 65 feet long, 30 feet wide with a 15 foot porch and a strong Turret in which to hang a Large Bell. It is T-shaped, built of brick with the main entrance facing the State House. A gold ball, thought to be a gift from the Queen, sits atop the spire. For a while it will be the only brick church in Maryland. In 1699 lightning strikes the State House, killing one man and injuring others. In 1704 it burns to the ground. It is rebuilt in 1706. At that time, there are just 374 Protestants in the Parish. That year the first successful American newspaper is published in Boston.