Thursday, July 16, 2009

Kings's Chapel and its old burying ground

Boston is a city of contrasts. Among modern high rise buildings you suddenly see smaller and older structures that reminds you that it is one of the oldest cities in the United States. One of these buildings is King’s Chapel on the corner of Tremont and School street. Here people have said prayers for over 320 years, and the burying ground around it contains graves that even go back to the first settlers that set foot in the New world, as Mayflower arrived in 1620.

King’s Chapel is hardly the most beautiful of the buildings left from Old Boston. It has a classic façade with columns and a flat tower. The first building on the site was built in wood in 1686.

The current stone building was designed by Peter Harrison and was completed in 1754. What happened to the older building was that it was moved out of the windows of the current church, and the timber was used to build another church, dedicated to Saint John, in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Sadly this building burnt down in 2001, but has since been restored. The congregation went from being Anglican to Unitarian in 1784.

The church was not open to the public when I passed it, but surrounding the church is a fascinating churchyard. The last graves here dates to the last decade of the 18th century. They have since been rearranged, so the the headstones do not mark the exact location of the graves. Here ar a few of the graves at the old burying ground.

James Townsend

This beautiful headstone marks the grave of James Townsend. I have tried to find more information on the web, without succeeding.

The headstone has neither date of birth nor date of his death.

James Townsend was most likely of noble descent, as his grave bears his coat of arms, three scallop shells separated by a angled bar.

See story on Granary Burying Ground anno 1660

William Dawes Jr.


PATRIOT, SON OF LIBERTY, AND FIRST MESSENGER SENT BY WARREN FROM BOSTON TO LEXINGTON ON THE NIGHT OF APRIL 11TH 1775 TO WARN HANCOCK AND ADAMS OF THE COMING OF THE BRITISH TROOPS

BORN APRIL 5TH 1745
DIED FEBRUARY 25TH 1799

William Dawes is one of the many extraordinary characters that took part in the drama connected to the American revolution, and many of them are buried in this area, here and especially in the nearby Granary Burying Ground.

Read story on Along my Freedom Trail: Old North Church and the Paul Revere Statue here on Enjoy Food & Travel

John Winthrop and his descendants

John Winthrop was born in 1587 in Edwardstone, Suffolk, and he, his third wife Margaret Tyndal, their three sons and eight servants left their small manor bound for the new world 1630-1631. Here he became the governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

He was the owner of the land on which Boston Common, the city's first park, rests.

The stone marks the family grave of several generations of the family from the mid 17th to the mid 18th century, some of which had powerful positions in Colonial America.

Read more on John Winthrop and Boston Common

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