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Historic St. Luke's Church Museum, Smithfield

#25 of 147 in Historic Sites in Virginia
Religious Site Historic Site
Historic St. Luke's Church, originally known as the Old Brick Church, or Newport Parish Church, is an historic church building, historic site, and museum, located in the unincorporated community of Benns Church, near Smithfield in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, United States. Historic St. Luke's is the oldest church in Virginia and oldest church in British North America of brick construction. According to local tradition the structure was built in 1632, but other evidence points to a date of 1682; see Dating controversy.On October 15, 1966, St. Luke's was designated a National Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of its historic and architectural distinction. In 1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower designated the Site a National Shrine in concert with the 350th Anniversary of Jamestown.Since 1954 Historic St. Luke's Restoration, Inc., doing business as Historic St. Luke's Church, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that maintains, preserves, promotes, and interprets the 17th-century, 100-acre historic site. HSLR, Inc. does not receive any federal, state, or municipal funding. All sourcing comes from private corporations, foundations and individuals.ArchitectureHistoric St Luke's Church in Smithfield, Virginia, USA is Virginia's Oldest Church. Once known as "Old Brick Church", Historic St. Luke's is typified by College of William & Mary professor and Colonial Williamsburg Foundation architectural historian Carl Lounsbury as an Artisan Mannerism style of structure blending many influences into a builder rather than an architect-focused structure. Other examples of such architecture include Bacon's Castle in nearby Surry County, Virginia and exhibit Cavalier or Royalist sensibilities. St. Peter's Church in New Kent, Virginia is a later, less ornate style reflecting the Glorious Revolution of Dutch-English monarchs William & Mary.
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  • Visited St Luke's on our way back from Visiting Ivy Hill and the Wharf Brewery. It was near closing time but their Outstanding Staff gave us some time to purchase gifts..books pictures and a tour of t...  more »
  • We enjoyed visiting this beautiful place and all it has to offer. Our guide was very knowledgeable in his historical facts about the area and the church.  more »
  • We had an excellent tour with Colin of the historic church and grounds. This is a must see for history fans. The grounds are beautiful and peaceful.  more »
  • Such a gorgeous venue! The church and grounds are breathtaking. Colin was so helpful; he answered all of our questions and was so patient. After our ceremony and outdoor pictures it started to rain and Colin saved us by driving us on a golf cart protecting bridal gown and makeup! We loved it so much we had our reception there as well. A giant tent fit perfectly and dozens of "candles" made for a romantic vintage theme. They worked with us every step of the way. We chose right before sunset giving us gorgeous pictures inside and out of the church. We look forward to returning and enjoying the memories of a wonderful day.
  • This is a beautiful historic church in Smithfield, and was the most perfect venue for my wedding ceremony. Many of the guests complimented the church and have expressed interest in visiting the site again to learn more about the church and its history. Even though the church is hundreds of years old, it has A/C, and the bridal dressing room is roomy and comfortable. The staff, especially Collin, at St. Luke's are warm and friendly, and made the process very easy. They are very accommodating, allowing me to decorate the church and hold rehearsal the afternoon prior to the day. Although it is in Isle of Wight/Smithfield, it is a very easy commute from Norfolk and the Newport News/Hampton area, with little traffic.
  • Very upsetting. Just came here from Virginia Beach after eating Mother's Day lunch out here. We stopped here to check out this beautiful historic church. The man inside the gift shop was friendly, he sold us tickets to tour the grounds and the church. There was a guided tour that had just started but we wanted to do it on our own. We walked around the outside for a bit. We knocked on the church door to be let in. An older lady opened the door and stood there. She asked if we were there for the guided tour. We said no we were touring ourselves. She said well you got a peek and shut the door in my face. With my husband and 2 year old standing next to me. We stood there for a minute in utter disbelief. I have never been so disrespected. We paid, we were allowed to go in and tour the church for however Long we wanted. And she was such a nasty women. Needles to say that definitely put a negative energy on my Mother's Day. I am still in shock. Thanks lady. You should stay home if your going to be such a jerk.
  • Front desk guy was very nice. Place was beautiful. Didn't have time for a full tour so walked down to the church and was greeted by a very rude woman tour host. Told her we were just looking around and she said okay we had our peek and slammed the door in our face. Would have loved to see the church but definitely won't be back.
  • Beautifully restored church. Very knowledgeable docent. Gorgeous oldest organ.