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St. Luke's Historic Church & Museum, Smithfield

4.7
#1 of 11 in Things to do in Smithfield
Must see · Religious Site · Historic Site
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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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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
478 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • I’m ashamed to admit that, prior to taking this tour, I knew nothing about St. Luke’s Church, near Smithfield, Virginia, or its significance in American history. After taking the tour, I came out... 
    I’m ashamed to admit that, prior to taking this tour, I knew nothing about St. Luke’s Church, near Smithfield, Virginia, or its significance in American history. After taking the tour, I came out...  more »
  • We arrived at 4:25 pm and they close at 5. Our tour guide, Leslie Dunaway, greeted us and we immediately started the tour with her. She was so fascinating in telling us not only the history but also.....  more
    We arrived at 4:25 pm and they close at 5. Our tour guide, Leslie Dunaway, greeted us and we immediately started the tour with her. She was so fascinating in telling us not only the history but also.....  more »
Google
  • We went on a weekday when it was not very busy and ended up getting a private tour. Our guide,Leslie, was a very sweet and knowledgeable lady. We went inside the church and out in the cemetery. We greatly enjoyed it. They are only open certain days so be sure to check their website to make sure they are open.
  • Our church (Grace Church of Richmond) had a WONDERFUL private tour with John today! Highly recommended for ANY CHRISTIAN! Very historic and informative!

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