This Image Matters: King’s Chapel, c1905 – Boston, MA

Intersection at King's Chapel, c1904

King’s Chapel was the first Anglican church building in Boston. The current chapel, constructed in the mid-19th Century, sits at the corner of Tremont and School Streets, between Boston Common, City Hall, and Downtown Crossing.

Royal Governor Sir Edmund Andros and Lord Bishop of London, Henry Compton founded the church in 1686. At the time, no one in Boston would sell land for the construction of a non-Calvinist church, so the original structure was built from wood on public burial ground instead. The grounds, which had been the only public burial site in the city from 1630 to 1660, came to be known as King’s Chapel Burying Ground after the building was dedicated in 1689.

In 1749, architect Peter Harrison (1716-1775) designed a new chapel to replace the wooden one. A granite structure was built around the original over the course of five years. It wasn’t until construction was complete in 1754 that the wood was disassembled, and removed through the windows piece-by-piece. It was then sent to Nova Scotia, where it was used in the construction of a new Anglican church. Harrison’s granite building is sometimes referred to as Stone Chapel.

King’s Chapel has remained in operation for centuries, though it sat vacant for a brief period during the Revolutionary War, when many of its Loyalist members fled the area. Remaining members continued to meet there, however, and services resumed after a few months.

Stone Chapel is also noted for it’s bell, which was hung a decade after construction. It cracked in 1814, but was recast by Paul Revere, who called it the “sweetest bell I ever made.”

2016-1_Boston_memeAll this week we’ve been exploring the visual history of Boston throughout our social media channels. 

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