MHT File Photo
St. Andrew's Church
St. Andrews Church Road, California, Saint Marys County
St. Andrew's Church is five bays long and three bays wide. The exterior of the nave of St. Andrew's Church is a rectangular brick box laid in Flemish bond with a gable roof and round-arched windows trimmed with brick segmental arches. On the west front, however, all convention is abandoned in a flourish of architectural forms. At both the northwest and southwest corners stands a two-story square brick tower with a diminutive spire. Brick quoins trim the corners of the towers up to the string course. Each tower has two niches on the west side that are framed with a raised brick arch, awaiting some appropriate statue or urn. On the south and north side of each tower is a round-arched window situated above a shallow recess framed with a brick arch. Between the towers at ground level is a recessed one-story loggia. Above the loggia is a two-tiered gallery lighted by a Palladian window centered under the pedimented gable end. A separate exterior door and staircase lead to the upper tier of the gallery, and an interior step ladder leads to the lower gallery. On the interior, the church has a barrel-vault ceiling over the nave which is supported by columns with Ionic capitals. Each of the two side aisles has a flat ceiling. The original flagstones pave the floor. The carved wooden reredos has fluted Ionic pilasters which frame Biblical quotations painted by John Friech in 1771. The church has box pews.
The pastiche of architectural forms on the western facade of St. Andrew's is unequalled in 18th century Maryland architecture. Richard Boulton designed the church in 1766. He is attributed with the design and execution of the outstanding carving and ornamentation at Sotterley, located approximately ten miles northeast of St. Andrew's, and at Bushwood, another St. Mary's County house which burned in the 20th century. Very little is known about Boulton's career. The fact that he worked for George Plater of Sotterley who was a member of St. Andrew's Parish may explain the vestry's choice of Boulton to design their church.