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Historic St. Luke's Church Museum, Smithfield

(320+ reviews on the web)
Religious 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Our tour guide Rachael had done incredible research into the archives and history of St Luke's Church. The church was supposedly built in circa 1632 but according to testing of original pieces of the ...  more »
  • Our visit with friends to this historic VA church was a wonderful experience on a sunny, but chilly day in Smithfield, VA. Our tour guide, Leslie, was friendly and most knowledgeable about the church'...  more »
  • We had a very interesting experience, and our tour guide, Leslie, was not only informative, she was enthusiastic in her description of the history of the church and the families who have contributed t...  more »
Google
  • This was a dynamic tour, thanks to Rev. John Erickson who conducts the tour and provides detailed information about the architecture, the interior layout, the antiquity of much of the interior furnishings, the early settlers and following generations who were parishioners, and finally identifies many of the graves and their occupants significance in the early life of Isle of Wight County. If you are a Virginian and interested in its early history, or a history buff of any sort, this is a must when you are near the area.
  • Amazing tour given by John Ericson. He went beyond the walls of the church and explained the true meaning behind this amazing piece of history. Must see for any history lover.
  • Beautiful old church, the pride in workmanship is just unbelievable. Very worthwhile stop.
  • I do not understand why you are rejoicing about your contribution to the Confederacy Army. Their goal was to overthrow the U.S. Government and prevent the Emancipation of about 4 million slaves. The acts of the Confederacy were considered to be Treason. In the Suffolk News Herald article you stated something about being "American"". How can you talk about being American in 1862? That was the year Virginia seceded from the United States of America. I would like to see more about your church's religious work in uplifting the name of the true God.
  • We toured the "Old Brick Church" on Valentine's Day. It was a beautiful day, albeit cold. The tour guide was patient, very knowledgeable, honest to a fault, and entertaining. I learned many things and enjoyed the experience. It was refreshing to hear about religious tolerance and religious freedom from the perspective of 17th Century Americans. It helped to explain some of the attitudes of our Founding Fathers. I'd recommend the tour for anyone interested in early American history.