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Equal Suffrage League of Virginia

Christ Church-Lancaster

Address: 420 Christ Church Road, PO Box 24, Irvington, VA 22480
Phone: 804.438.6855
Web site: http://www.christchurch1735.org

The efforts of the Foundation for Historic Christ Church, Inc., established in 1958, ensured the preservation and appreciation of one of the finest examples of surviving colonial church architecture in America. Completed around 1732 at the behest of one of Virginia's richest and most influential colonial planters and statesmen, Robert "King" Carter, Christ Church was constructed over top of an earlier, 1669 structure commissioned by his father, John, in the chancel of which Carter's two parents had been buried. The handsome building served its congregation until the period of the American Revolution, when with disestablishment of the state church, it reverted to the Carter family. By the middle decades of the nineteenth it was again being used by Episcopalians, but eventually only during summer months or for special occasions.

With the restoration of the church nearing completion in the mid-1960s, the Foundation's leadership quite naturally turned to The Garden Club of Virginia for assistance in providing an appropriate landscape that would complement this historic structure. The club's plan, formulated by landscape architect Ralph E. Griswold, was restrained and predicated on a desire to provide unobstructed views of the church itself. Members of the Foundation and the Club also desired to pay homage to "King" Carter's beneficence in one way by recreating the "row of goodly cedars" that, according to local lore, had run between the church and Carter's nearby mansion on the Corotoman River.

The resulting design placed the obligatory parking area as far from the church as property boundaries would allow, obscured from sight by a combination of holly trees, willow oaks and magnolias. Nearer the building, day lilies provided important ground cover to areas not cleared for the expansive lawn. The club also helped with the cemetery section that falls outside of the walls surrounding the church. The cemetery lies just to the south of the brick walkway through the cedars that brings visitors to the stately entrance of a most handsome and historically important edifice.

Note:
The images presented here record various stages of the property's landscape restoration. Since additional work has been supported by The Garden Club of Virginia at many properties, these images do not necessarily represent the current-day experience. Also, accession numbers reflect the year in which an image was received by the Virginia Historical Society, not the year in which it was taken.

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Description

1. Looking toward the narthex from the west through the surrounding shrubbery.

Slide, Historic Christ Church.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.17.G

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2. The symbolic recreation of a "row of goodly cedars" leading to the entrance of Christ Church pays tribute to the generosity of Robert "King" Carter.

Slide, Historic Christ Church.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.17.E

3. Day lilies enhance the unobstructed vista from the north.

Slide, Historic Christ Church.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.17.H

4. The expansive lawn and lush plantings help to draw attention to the exceptional architectural details of the church.

Slide, Historic Christ Church.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.8.R

5. A customary plaque pays quiet tribute to the efforts of the restoration committee and architect Ralph Griswold in recreating a historically appropriate landscape.

Photographic print, Historic Christ Church.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.17.S

6. Dogwoods made a particularly congenial addition to the original planting plan.

Photographic print, Historic Christ Church.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.17.T

7. The impressive view out the narthex door toward the "row of goodly cedars."

Photographic print, Historic Christ Church.
Museum Collection
Accession number: 1997.31.17.U

8. Layout, Details and Water Line plan, Ralph Griswold, November 1966.

Drawing, Historic Christ Church.
Manuscripts Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 3

9. Planting Plan, Ralph Griswold, revised May 1967.

Drawing, Historic Christ Church.
Manuscripts Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 3

10. Letter of Richard T. Herndon, Foundation for Historic Christ Church, 1965, to Mrs. Burdette Wright asking The Garden Club of Virginia to take on the project.

Letter, Historic Christ Church.
Manuscripts Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2

11. Letter of Mrs. Lucy Lee Sale to Mrs. Wright, 1965, regarding the inclusion of a cemetery outside the walled enclosure as a part of the design plan

Letter, Historic Christ Church.
Manuscripts Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2

12. Letter of Ralph Griswold to Mrs. James Bland Martin, 1966, concerning acceptance of the preliminary plan and changes to the design.

Letter, Historic Christ Church.
Manuscript Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2
Multiple Page Document:  Page 1  |  Page 2

13. Ralph Griswold's report to Mrs. Martin, 1967, on changes to the planting plan after inspection of the project site.

Letter, Historic Christ Church.
Manuscript Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2
Multiple Page Document:  Page 1  |  Page 2

14. Letter of Richard Herndon to Mr. and Mrs. Martin, 1968, welcoming them to membership in the Foundation.

Letter, Historic Christ Church.
Manuscripts Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2

15. Letter of John R. Edmonds, Foundation president, to Mrs. Lilburn L. Talley, 1987, concerning removal of ivy plantings along an enclosure wall.

Letter, Historic Christ Church.
Manuscripts Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2

16. Report, ca. 1969, to the Restoration Committee from the Foundation for Historic Christ Church on project accomplishments.

Report, Historic Christ Church.
Manuscript Collection
Call number: Mss3 G1673 a Section 2
Multiple Page Document:  Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3

 

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Last updated: March 15, 2011