Heritage Trail & Sacred Grounds.
Dorchester Parish c. 1675-1690
Built by English colonists on land patented in 1675 to Henry Aldridge, a former indentured servant, Old Trinity Church is one of the oldest church buildings in the United States still used for regular worship. While the exact date of construction is not known, the church was already standing in 1692 when "Dorchester Parish" was officially named. Situated on Church Creek, the parish church underwent restorations in the 1850s and again a centukry later. The first "reconstruction" conformed to medieval gothis. Windows received pointed arches, and the box pews and high pulpit were removed.
From 1953 to 1960, Col. Edgar W. Garbisch and his wife, Bernice Chrysler Garbisch, restored the church in keeping with the 17th century heritage. Exterior walls were reinforced and the original brick reset. An 18th century transept, the wooden floor, and 19th century furnishings were removed. Gothic style windows were replaced with double casements of diamond shaped panes. The 3 tiered pulpit and 15 enclosed box pews were reconstructed from old heart of pine wood. Most of the church's ironwork is hand forged. The church's walnut alter, two sconces, and the floor tiles remain original. A communion chalice bearing English silver hallmarks that date to the reign of George III is one of the church's most treasured
The main body of the church is 38 feet long and 20 feet wide. The half-circle apse where the altar sits is of particularly fine artisanship. An English pipe organ occupies the singers' loft, and the church's 17th century auditory style has excellent acoustics. As required by a 1696 Maryland statue, :A Table of Kindred and Affinity" is clearly posted near the west entrance, proscribing marriages within certain degrees of kinship. The crest of Queen Anne of England (r. 1792-1714), a benefactor of the parish looks down from the loft.
The graveyard is protected by an 85-acre glebe, which includes the Rectory, a 1790 farmhouse. It contains marsh, farmland, and undisturbed upland habitat as well as ancient trees.
Interesting Facts and Features
· Home of an active congregation worshiping in the classic Anglican style, each Sunday at 11:00 a.m. · Persons of any faith may be buried in the cemetery. · The "Old Graveyard" features six veterans of the Revolution, four from the War of 1812, and several veterans of both sides of the Civil War. · On the right side of the church is the "Miller's Grave," a local 18th century miller, marked with his millstones. · On the dock side of the church is the grave of Anna Ella Carroll (1815-1894), "shadow member of Lincoln's cabinet," and other members of the Carroll family including her father, Maryland
Governor Thomas King Carroll. · To the east of the church is the Vesting House, a colonial style structure built during the last restoration. · The pier is occasionally used by those who like to come to church by boat. · The Lychgate is a common feature of English cemeteries, where traditionally clergy meet coffins before burial. · The River Walk features a Contemplation Garden, dedicated to S. Proctor Rodgers (1901-1984), who long admired the beauty and historic connection of church and river. · A "living shoreline," planted by community volunteers in 2008, stretches along Church Creek. · Ownership is in the hands of the Vestry of Dorchester Parish.