St. Luke's Historic Church & Museum, Smithfield

4.7
#1 of 9 in Things to do in Smithfield
St. Luke's Church, also known as Old Brick Church, or Newport Parish Church, is a historic church building, located in the unincorporated community of Benns Church, near Smithfield in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, United States. It 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, 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. Historic St. Luke's does not receive any federal, state, or municipal funding. All sourcing comes from private corporations, foundations, and individuals.
Once known as "Old Brick Church", St. Luke's is described 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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St. Luke's Historic Church & Museum Reviews
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Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • This historically rich church dates from the late 1600s. A guided tour runs under an hour and covers intriguing tales of the church's earliest founders, showcases an ancient organ, and points out stun...  more »
  • We got a tour with John a couple of weeks ago. Wonderful tour, rich in history. Well worth your time when you are in the area.  more »
Google
  • Wonderful experience. Maggie gave us a great tour, very knowledgable and answered all of our questions. This church is a treasure. Anyone who loves history won't be disappointed.
  • A not-well known piece of history St. Luke's is the oldest Church in Virginia and the oldest "brick" Church built in "British" North America. It is as beautiful as it is simple. A perfect example of how a House of God should be designed. We are talking about a structure that is older than the United States and has survived wars, revolutions, and hundreds of years of weather. A MUST visit when in the area.

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