A Brief History of the Church Buildings


Captain Jahiel Hawley, who came to Arlington from New Milford with Rev. Beach, was Lay Reader of the Parish of Bethel Church (original name of St. James) until he left for England in the fall of 1772. He died in 1777. He built the first framed house in Arlington, situated a short distance South of the railroad station and it was here that the church services were held. This was the birthplace of the Episcopal Church in Vermont.


The Episcopal Society was organized under the name of The Bethel Church and planned to build a church half way between West and East Arlington. The location chosen was just south of the churchyard. At the meeting on Nov. 6th 1784 it was voted that the church should be 45 Ft long, 35 ft wide and 18 ft high with Nathan Canfield being responsible for the building of the church. It was completed in 1803


On October 26th, 1829 the cornerstone of St. James Church, Arlington was laid by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Griswold.

In a cavity of the cornerstone was deposited a leaden box containing a Prayer book and a parchment with the following inscription: -
"This cornerstone of St. James Church was laid by the Rt. Rev. Alexander Viets Griswold, D.D., Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Eastern Diocese, October 26 A.D. 1829, bieng the 53rd year of the Independence of the United States of America.

The Rev. James M. Tappan, The Minister of the Parish being present and assisting:-

Noble Hard and Simon Cole being Wardens;

Enos Canfield, Samuel S. Baker, Anson Canfield, Zadok Hard and Martin C. Denning - Vestrymen;

Lewis Dyer, Clerk; Martin C. Demming, Samuel S. Canfield, Cyrus B. Hills, Simeon Cole and Phineas Smith, - Building Committee;

William Passwan of Aulston, Yorkshire, England, - Architect."

The church was to be built in Gothic style with the dark blue limestone found in the area. It was to be 67 ft long, 48 ft wide with a cellar and furnace. The estimated expense was $6,000 of which Ms. Sylvester Demming was to pay 1/3 of the expense plus the organ and bell.

The church was consecrated on Aug 31st, 1831 during the convention held in Arlington and was completed in 1833. With little modifications, other than reconstruction of the Tower, this is the Church we see today.



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