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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Paul Baker Touart, 07/1996
St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church
Inventory No.: WI-2
Other Name(s): Green Hill
Date Listed: 6/5/1975
Location: Green Hill Church Road , Green Hill, Wicomico County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1733
Description: Green Hill Church, also known as St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church, is a single-story, Flemish bond gable-front brick church facing west. Green Hill Church is dated to 1733 in glazed bricks that were figured in the east gable end elevation. The rectangular brick structure rests on a low foundation defined by a single stepped watertable, and the building is covered by a steeply pitched gable roof of wood shingles. Joining the church on the lot are several marked burials with 18th and 19th century stones. The west elevation is a carefully laid Flemish bond wall with two beltcourses, one at the top of the first floor and a second close to the top of the gable end wall. A regular series of glazed headers yields a checkerboard pattern between the watertable and the second beltcourse. The lower beltcourse is three bricks wide and was laid with alternating glazed bricks, while the upper beltcourse is two bricks wide and was not laid with glazed headers. The wall surface above the second beltcourse is not distinguished by the distinct checkerboard pattern either. The gable end is pierced by two large double door openings spanned with segmental arches that feature alternating glazed rowlocks. Double doors distinguished by flat panels are framed by wide surrounds accented by bold ogee backbands. The doorways are topped by four-light transoms. Piercing the gable end is a vertical six-pane window. Fixed above the window is an iron bell fastened by a wooden bracket that extends through the wall surface. The edge of the roof is finished with a molded bargeboard. The north side of the church is four bays across with each bay defined by a segmental-arched window opening. The wall is laid in Flemish bond with a uniform checkerboard pattern of glazed bricks. The segmental arches have alternating glazed rowlocks. Windows of 12/12 sash are protected by paneled shutters secured with an iron cross bar. The shutters date from the 19th century and feature four flat panels to each shutter leaf. The base of the roof is finished with a boxed cornice. The east gable end is a Flemish bond wall that does not display the checkerboard pattern but is distinguished by the glazed brick date of 1733 fixed between the upper and lower beltcourses. A pair of segmental arched window openings are evenly spaced across the wall and are filled with 12/12 sash protected by flat panel shutters. Defining the north wall are four 12/12 sash window openings that pierce a Flemish bond wall undecorated with a checkerboard pattern. Each window opening is fitted with paneled shutters secured with an iron cross bar. The interior retains much of its 18th century woodwork, including large portions of its early-18th century raised-panel pew partitions that are arranged on each side of wide aisles that align with the two front doors. Rising almost four feet from the brick floor, the pew partitions consist of deeply cut raised panels set in mortised and tenon frames. Many of the raised-panel pew doors also survive with original butterfly or H-shaped hinges. The pulpit is fixed against the south wall and it is surmounted by an original canopy secured by a timber angle brace. Although the interior brick walls are now coated with layers of paint, the original finish would have been plaster, which remains in a few remote comers. The barrel vault ceiling is currently finished with narrow pine boards which date from the late 19th century. Stretching across the middle of the church from side to side are tremendous beaded edge tie beams. Significance: Situated on a high bank overlooking a broad expanse of the Wicomico River, Green Hill Church is clearly one of the outstanding 18th century architectural survivals remaining on the lower Eastern Shore. Today, the Flemish bond brick church stands in a quiet river location, although original intentions had been that the church would be surrounded by scores of developed lots in Green Hill Town, a port of entry created as part of an Act of Provincial Assembly in 1706. The population and development of Green Hill Town with the support of the local Anglican jurisdiction of Stepney Parish warranted the construction of this sizable 68'-8" by 43' Flemish bond brick church in 1733, thereby replacing a frame structure erected during the first decade of the century. Flemish bond walls rise from a low, single-ledge watertable, and the south and west elevations are highlighted by uniform checkerboard patterns of glazed headers. The decorative greyish blue bricks were also used in alternating rhythm within the broad segmental arches that span the four south windows and two west entrances. One of the most dramatic features of the brick exterior is the glazed brick date of 1733 that was executed in the Flemish bond pattern of the east gable end. While other glazed brick dates are found on buildings located in the middle and upper portions of the Eastern Shore, Green Hill Church is the only example of this architectural tradition surviving in the three lower Shore counties.
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