St. Luke's Historic Church & Museum, Smithfield

#1 of 9 in Things to do in Smithfield
Must see · Religious Site · Historic Site
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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464 reviews
  • Took my parents to tour the church as they have always wanted to and were in town so we finally made it there. Tour guide was Leslie Dunaway who was extremely accommodating to my elderly parents. She....  more »
  • Wonderful tour and conversation with guide Gloria, knowledgeable and great with engaging teens! As historic house guide myself I appreciated not just her knowledge but skill in keeping our small...  more »
  • 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.
  • The tour was worth it. Our tour guide Gloria was very friendly and informative. We learned SO much from our tour guide.

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