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Home North Carolina Orange County City of Hillsborough Historical Markers St. Mary's Chapel

St. Mary's Chapel

St. Mary's Road at Pleasant Green Road, Hillsborough, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 36° 6' 57.8988", -79° 0' 0.2592"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Established as Anglican chapel ca. 1759. Present building consecrated in 1859, stands 500 ft. N."
     Orange County and the Anglican St. Matthew’s Parish were created in 1752, taken from western segments of Granville, Johnston, and Bladen Counties and their respective parishes. The first church to serve the citizens of Orange was St. Matthew’s, on the corner of Churton and Tryon Streets in Hillsborough. It was established about 1757. St. Mary’s Chapel was built about seven miles northeast of Hillsborough on land donated by Thomas Holden in 1759. The intended purpose was to serve residents of northern Orange County, while New Hope Chapel, built around the same time, was to serve those in the southern part of the county. New Hope Chapel was constructed on the hill that would later become the nucleus of Chapel Hill. The Reverend George Micklejohn is thought to have preached at all three of the Orange County Churches of England from his arrival in Hillsborough in 1767 until the outbreak of the American Revolution.

     Following the Revolution, the Episcopal Church was not fully organized in North Carolina until 1817. St. Mary’s Chapel was admitted into the Episcopal union at the 1819 convention, with services having resumed there the previous year. In 1858 the congregation of St. Mary’s purchased 9 and 9/16ths acres of land adjoining the church’s original one acre tract. A new brick chapel was constructed and consecrated in 1859. Throughout the years, St. Mary’s appears to have been the responsibility of the minister at St. Matthew’s. Services were also conducted by lay readers and missionary priests. While the small chapel met the needs of the community, it was not in a financial position to afford a full-time minister. In the 1930s regular services at St. Mary’s were discontinued and most members transferred to St. Matthew’s.

Hugh Conway Browning, “Information Relating to St. Mary’s Chapel Located Seven Miles East of Hillsborough, Orange County, North Carolina” (1958 and 1970), unpublished notes in the files of the Research Branch, Office of Archives and History
Hugh Lefler and Paul Wager, eds., Orange County—1752-1952 (1953)
Durham Sun, June 3, 1975
Chapel of the Cross website: http://www.thechapelofthecross.org/hist/witness.html
St. Mary's Chapel Historical Marker Location Map, Hillsborough, North Carolina