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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Michael O. Bourne, 11/1999
St. Martin's Church
Inventory No.: WO-23
Date Listed: 4/13/1977
Location: Worcester Highway (US 113) , Showell, Worcester County
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1756-1759
Description: Old St. Martins Church is a brick, one-story building with a gallery. The walls above the chamfered water table are laid in Flemish bond with glazed headers on the north and south facades. The brickwork is finely done and in good condition. On the north and south is a heavy wooden cove cornice with end boards that follows the curve of the cove. The ridge of the gable roof runs from east to west, with a "kick" to the eave. The south facade is three bays long with a double batten door and transom (now boarded up) in the center bay. The two flanking windows are now closed on the lower half by batten shutters with strap hinges and are completely boarded over on the upper half. The lintels above the windows and doors are of gauged brick, and those above the windows have a gauged brick keystone. The west gable end also contains an entrance with double batten doors. At gallery level is another boarded window. One of the unusual features of the building is the flat arches above the entrances which have an ogee ground into the bottom of the arch similar to those at Holly Hill, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The north and east sides have two windows each exhibiting the same treatment as the south facade, with keystones in the gauged flat arches and shuttered and boarded windows. The east gable appears to have been rebuilt with brick of a more modern date. The interior of the chapel still retains much of its early woodwork. The brick floors are laid directly on the ground and the box pews are raised above the floor level. The original paneled pews have been used to make slip pews. Significance: The present brick building known as Old St. Martins Church was started in 1756 and completed in 1759. It stands on the site of its less pretentious predecessor, a chapel of ease. The interior contains its original brick floor, some pews with original caps and an intact gallery. The original sash are in evidence and were double-hung, that is, with lead weights and pulleys so as not to have the dangerous notch-and-catch contrivance of the "guillotine." The brickwork of the church is well executed and a good example of the use of glazed headers common in the 18th century brickwork of the Eastern Shore.


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