Episcopal Diocese of Virginia
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Vauter's Episcopal

PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 3661 Tidewater Trail
CITY, ST, ZIP: Champlain, VA 22438
PHONE: 804/443-4788
FAX: 804/462-7457

NA TITLE: Rev. Candine Johnson
E-MAIL: Candine Johnson



ECW: Vauter's ECW



Vauter's Church is a T-shaped building with the offset to the south -- the best preserved church of its type in the USA. It is the fourth (?) building of St. Anne's Parish and the first brick church of the parish. It is locaed on a small knoll surrounded by picturesque trees and a small graveyard

St. Anne's Parish was founded circa 1704-1711. Rawlings and Upton both consider this church as a modified one with the basic rectangular structure erected around 1719 and the southern T erected in 1731 according to the dating brick. An earlie rrector, Dr. Agnew, states from his examination of the rafters on a crawl though them that the structure was originally erected as a T-shaped structure in 1731?

The rectangular east-west structure is 56'6" x 30'2" -- of average size -- while the T-wing is 30'2' wide by 16' long. The T of the chancel is 10'3" wide. Rawlings cites the irregular placement of the southwest windows so that the shutters overlap and irregular flagstones in the aisles as evidence of later construction of the south wing. The walls are 2' thick.

The walls are in superb shape with the checkering of the glazed brick particularly noticeable. The water table is beveled with the expected English bond below and Flemish bond above. A small number of glazed headers are used in the water table itself. Along the angled rafters of the roof (barge boards) is a row of glazed headers as, to a disorganized extent, in Yeocomico and, in a similar manner, in St. John's, King William. Rubbed brick is present in doorways and window jambs, and there is as well fairly consistent use of queen closers in doorways and windows.

The doors themselves are possibly the oldest ones in the state; an interesting feature of the south doors is that they seem to have been put on backwards -- the door panels are concave instead of convex and the weathering on them suggests that they were always that way. the size and spacing of the arches shows great craftmanship. The south door has a triangular pediment while the west door has a semicircular arch as seems typical in these Northern Peninsula churches compared to those south of the James. The pilasters also show great evidence of symmetry and master brickwork.

The windows have circular (compassed) arches with some replacements in the arches. The west facade has two small windows for the balcony that are square with semicircular arches. The roof appears at first to have a consistent angle but is actually kicked gently at the eves, giving it a graceful look.

Even the frames and moldings are in excellent shape; note that they reflect the general Northern Peninsula structure with a semicircular arch over the west door and a triangular one above the southern one. For a close description read Rawling's book pages 92ff. Note the differentiation between the pilasters (bas relief columns) beside the doors and the square voussoirs above the south door based on continuing the lines of the circular or flat arch. The windows, too, are of colonial origin if not original including the compass frames for those in the walls and the semi-arched square sash windows above the south door to provide light for the balcony.

The flagstones of the aisles are most likely original, but the chancel was first paved with bricks removed in 1925. The wooden floors under the pews are said to cover remains of bricks. The chancel was in colonial days in the east but was moved to its northern, central location in 1827 when the church was renovated. At the same time, the pews were cut down to the present height of three feet or so (I need to measure), but the doors, hinges, and rail caps are original. The present color, a pleasing light blue, is according to Dr. Agnew, derived from colonial paint samples found within the church.

The pulpit, which originally was a three decker with a clerk's deck, a reading desk, and the pulpit itself, was replaced with a simpler, one-level pulpit in 1827. It may has stood against the north wall as it now does, but there is little evidence for the original placement. The interior is plastered with a flat ceiling. From the level of the pulpit, the minister is level with the balconies in the west and south -- not a place for one with vertigo.