Images de page
PDF
ePub

but there was no separate African church until the first was set up in Williamsburg in 1791. bof all these denominations the most powerfull and influential were the Congregational and the Anglican, so that the meetinghouse in New England and the church in the Southern Colonies came to be distinctive and conspicuous features in the religious life of America. The meetinghouse, usually built of wood but toward the end of the period sometimes of brick, was situated in the center of the town. It was at first á plain, unadorned, rectangular structure, sometimes painted and sometimes not, without tower or steeple, and not unlike the Quaker meetinghouse and the Wesleyan chapel of a later day. Later buildings were constructed after English models, with the graceful spire characteristic of the work of Sir Christopher Wren, and represented a type to which the Presbyterian and Dutch Reformed churches tended to conform. At one end of the building rose the tower and spire, with a bell and a clock, if the congregation could afford them; at the other end or at the side was the porch. In addition to the pleasing proportions which the building as a whole showed, even the doors and windows manifested a certain striving for architectural beauty of a refined and

rather severe kind. The interior was usually bare and unattractive; the pulpit stood on one side, high above the pews, and was made in the shape of an hourglass or with a curved front, and stood under a sounding board, which was introduced less perhaps for its acoustic value than to increase the dignity of the preacher. The body of the house was filled with high square pews, within which were movable seats capable of being turned back for the convenience of the worshipers, who always stood during the long prayers. The pews were the property of the occupiers, who viewed them as part of the family patrimony. Assignment of pews followed social rank; front seats were reserved for the deacons; convenient sittings were set apart for the deaf; the side seats were for those of lesser degree, and the gallery for the children. There were nofree seats in colonial days, except for the very poor. In these meetinghouses there were neither fires nor lights, with the result that evening services could not be held. In the winter season the chill of the building must have wrought havocupon tender physiques and imperiled the lives of those unlucky infants whose fate it was to be baptized with icy water."

“It was so cold a Lord's Day," says Checkley in his diary (Jan. 19. 1735). “ that the water for Baptism was considerably frozen."

ST. MICHAEL'S CHURCH, CHARLESTON, S. C.

Drawing from photograph. .. .i

.

...

THE MEETINGHOUSE, HINGHAM, MASS.

Drawing from photograph.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

G2A, 1641DVIN 22 JOHOVITUM ANTY ,

iti i dastzotorla moti DOWBC ici..) i ri

.,! jente bereikeri me F ::. ..... A's

I c e ... des!! Y por sf,

of de 1:247 } Ve "indbuks , D'', .

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[subsumed][merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed]
« PrécédentContinuer »