St. Martin's Episcopal Church Museum, Showell, Worcester County, Maryland
St. Martins Episcopal Church

St. Martin

St. Martin

St. Martin

St. Martin

St. Martin's Episcopal Church Museum

Showell, Maryland



St Martin's Church Interior - Showell MarylandSt. Martin's Episcopal Church endures as one of the most significant religious sites on the lower Eastern Shore, considered by many an architectural gem of Episcopal history. Four Flemish bond brick walls rise from a beveled water table; a glazed brick checkerboard pattern enhances the south wall. The window and door openings are highlighted by rubbed brick borders and jack arches. The south and west entrances are distinguished further by a scroll-shaped decoration. Notable features of the roof construction include the kicked eaves and cove cornices and the underlying structure itself, a massive principal rafter, king-post framing system. (CLICK the pictures for a better view.)

Erected for Worcester Parish between 1756 and 1763, the church was the second building to house the St. Martin's congregation at this site. Although the land on which it stands was not officially purchased until July 1756, records indicate there was a chapel of ease of All Hallows Parish at this location as early as 1703, when a local planter, Roger Thomas, directed in his will that his body be buried "in the Church Yard at St. Martin's." Nothing is known about this early building, for the records of All Hallows Parish no longer exist.

St. Martin's Church Interior St. Martin's Church Interior

On August 6, 1756, the vestry of Worcester Parish formally purchased two acres of the tract called "Vermin Drane" on which the first chapel stood with plans to rebuild on the same site. That same summer the vestry entered into a contract with James Johnson for the construction of the brick church that stands today. The vestry minutes of Worcester Parish record for Tuesday the 10th of July 1756 that "the Vestry agreed with James Johnson to build a Church forty four foot square where the old Chapel stands for Eighty five thousand three hundred pound of Tobacco." Construction of the new church stretched over the following three years. St. Martin's Church Historic Marker.In September 1759 the vestry met with a plan to receive the building, but it was not finished and the issue was taken to the Maryland provincial court, where the specifications of the building contract are explicitly stated. At issue were some incomplete or incorrect aspects of the features agreed upon.

Few changes have been made to the brick exterior since the mid-eighteenth century, although the raised-panel pews and their arrangements as well as the altar were modified in the wake of an early nineteenth century movement to revitalize the Episcopal Church statewide. Attendance at St. Martin's dwindled and weekly services were eventually replaced with yearly commemorative gatherings in the late nineteenth century. The church has been accurately and beautifully restored to its original interior and will be open in the spring for visitors. It will be a multipurpose museum.

Historic Old St. Martin’s Event Calendar 2010

Summer Open House:
St. Martin’s is open to the public every Saturday beginning June 5, 2010 through August
28, 2010. 11:00am-1:00pm- Tours and history of the church and the restoration provided
by a team of docents. Donations are graciously accepted.

Sunday Summer Education Series: Discover the Past; as we introduce speakers
that will unravel the mysteries of lower shore architecture, Churches of the 16th Century,
and Tales of the Past that will remind us of the importance of preserving our rich history.
RESERVE ALL 3! A donation of $25.00 reserves your seat at St. Martin’s or $10.00 per
lecture. or call 410-430-2142

June 13, 2010: Paul Baker Touart-Architectural Historian 4:30PM
Paul discusses the painstaking Restoration of St. Martin’s Church, as told by the
architectural historian that guided the project beginning in 1993. Paul will also discuss his
award winning book on Somerset County and hold a book signing.

August 29, 2010: Michael Olmert, PhD 4:30PM
Dr. Olmert will speak on “Architecture & Worship in the Stuart Church” Dr. Olmert is
the author of 5 books and a 3 time Emmy Award Winner for his work in Documentaries.
In addition to his many accomplishments, Dr.Olmert wrote the official guide to
Williamsburg, VA-the most studied 18th century town in the US.

September 2010 Tales of The Eastern Shore: Turn away from the roar of the beltway,
and hear to the stories of agriculture, the legacy of Stephen Decatur, and the rural
Tidewater region, as told by 4 deeply rooted Eastern Shore gentlemen. Final Date &
Time to follow.

First Annual St. Martin’s Day Celebration Weekend
Thursday, November 11, 2010: St. Martin’s Day Celebration & Donor Recognition:
Celebration begins at 11:00AM-Open House and traditional St. Martin Festivities.
Friday, November 12, 2010: Fundraiser to Benefit St. Martin’s Preservation
To be held at the home know by many as The Sheriff Purnell House on South Main
Street in Berlin—Save the Date: by Invitation

Saturday, November 13, 2010: Old St. Martin’s Day Festival
Held on the grounds of the church; Featuring Old World Crafts, Foods, Finery & Fun.
Sunday, November 14, 2010: 18th Century Church Service-Time to be announced
December 24th- Christmas Eve- To be announced

St. Martin's Episcopal Church
Routes 113 & 589
Worcester Highway
Showell, Maryland
Sherrie Beckstead, President, St. Martins Foundation
Phone: 410-430-2142

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