Raided by British, July 1814
Colonial Settlement followed the rivers inland, and harbors with deep water became commercial and social centers. The Maryland colony was founded in 1634, and Chaptico was officially established by 1683. In 1689, Chaptico's John Goode organized a rebellion against Lord Baltimore's government in St. Mary's City. Thereafter, the Anglican Church of England was the official church of Maryland, and the state capital was moved to Annapolis.
Conflicting Portrayals of the War of 1812
125 years later, the British feigned and advance up the Potomac River to disguise their advance on Washington, D.C. As they sailed up the Potomac, sailors came ashore to plunder plantations and destroy property, terrorizing the citizens of this young nation.
On July 30, 1814, the British landed at Chaptico's wharf and marched to Christ Church.Two different versions are told of their visit.
...[The British] conduct would have disgraced cannibals; the houses were torn to pieces, the well which afforded water for the inhabitants was filled up. —- What was still worse, the Church & the Ashes of the Dead shared and equally bad or worse fate. Will you believe that the sunken graves were converted in to barbecue (sic) holes; the remaining glass in the church windows broken, the communion table was used as a dinner table, and then broken to pieces... [and a] vault was entered and the remains of the dead disturbed. Yes, my friend, the winding sheet was torn from the body of a lady of the first respectability . and the whole contents of the vault entirely deranged!... Cockburn was the head of it; that they destroyed the organs, that Judge Key's lady, who had been put into the vault, was ... wantonly exposed; and that his men were exasperated to desperation by this conduct. — Replica of report from Robert Wright for the Daily National Intelligencer August 4, 1814.
"...we marched and took quiet possession of [Chaptico] without opposition. I remain all day quietly in Chaptico whist the boats shipped off tobacco which was found there in considerable quantity, and at night reembarked without molestation. I visited many house[s] in different parts of the country we passed through, the owners of which were living quietly with their families and seeming to consider themselves and the whole neighborhood as being entirely at my disposal. I caused no further inconvenience to [them], than obliging them to furnish supplies of cattle and stock for... forces under my orders." — Rear Admiral Sir George Cockburn to Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, July 31, 1814.
"... took possession of Chaptico — where some ladies who had heard of our good behavior [sic] at Leonards Town remained — and sang an[d] played the piano. We took from thence 70 Hhds [hogsheads] of tobacco, some flour, & military stores but preserved their houses [and] purchased from them stock and various articles of provisions. The men all fled, but the Ladies remained to see the wonderful Admrl. Cockburn and the British folks." — Captain Robert Rowley report to his superiors, August, 1814.
King and Queen Episcopal Parish was organized in 1692,and the church built in 1736. It is a good example of the Georgian architectural style, inspired by the work of Sir Christopher Wren. Plan books showing the features of Wrens buildings were available in England, and this style flourished in Maryland throughout the 18th century.
The symmetry of the arched windows, and the elaborate cornice detailing (where the exterior walls meet the roof) are typical of the Georgian style. Christ Church is detailed with the Flemish bond brick pattern ,which is typical of early St. Mary's county buildings.
This church was built with taxes collected from all citizens Anglican or not, by Maryland's Provincial government.