A Brief History of the Church Buildings
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
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
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 -
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
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