"St. Anne's is not a building. St. Anne's Parish consists of all those men and women, girls and boys, who have worshiped, who now worship, or who will, in the year's to come, worship our Lord in this community of the Baptized."
St. Anne's Parish was formed on June 1, 1704 , by an act of the General Assembly of Virginia, from a much large parish called Sittingbourne which encompassed a large area on both sides of the Rappahannock River. At the time of the formation of St. Anne's, Parson James Smith served the parish until 1714. There was a need for a glebe to support the parish and the minister. In 1706, the church wardens for the new parish purchased property across the creek from the present site of Vauter's Church.
According to the various histories of the early churches of the area, one of the churches that would have been used at that time was located on the Rappahannock, on four acres of land near the mouth of the Occupacia Creek, at the end of present day Daingerfield Landing Road. This church would have been active from 1665, and continued in use until 1721. The place is marked to this day by a heavy granite slab over the grave of Henry Oswald. The Old church stood nearby on the crown of the bluff, some thirty feed above the river. The line between St. Anne's Parish and South Farnham Parish was changed in 1770 and recent research calls into question to which parish this church belonged.
In 1716, the parish became embroiled with the political authorities at Williamsburg over the selection of clergymen to parish positions. Gov. Alexander Spotswood selected John Bagge as his appointee for St. Anne's Parish. The parish vestrymen selected Giles Rainsford as their choice of rector, and a lengthy debate ensued over this matter. Though the governor won with his choice of Bagge, the issue was serious enough that in a short time, it was enacted that vestries in Virginia had the right to select their own ministers. During John Bagge's tenure, St. Anne's Parish was given a set of Communion silver made in 1724 by William Pearson of London. It is believe to have come from the bounty of Anne, Queen of England.
The Lower Church was replaced some time between 1721 and 1739 with Sale's Church, named for the Sale family who owned the land near present day Champlain. This church stood a quarter of a mile east of the present St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. References to Sale's Church disappeared after the Revolutionary War, during the general decline of the Episcopal Church in Virginia, and the church itself was vandalized.
An Upper Church for St. Anne's Parish was built near the site of present day Vauter's Church. When it was build is not known, but apparently it existed in 1719. The current Vauter's Church replaced it.
During the tenure of the Rev. Robert Rose, the present Vauter's Church was build. The historical marker for Vauter's Church states, "According to tradition part of the present church was built about 1719 with an addition constructed in 1731, but architectural evidence suggests that the church was built as a unit in 1731." Rose and his family were the first to occupy the new glebe at Cloverfield farm, which is believed to be the oldest brick glebe house still standing in Virginia.
In 1785, the surviving parishes in Virginia of the Church of England came together and formed the Diocese of Virginia. St. Anne's Parish was one of those parishes that was part of the First Convention of the Diocese of Virginia and played its role in the creation of the Diocese of Virginia, and through the diocese, the creation of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America.
In 1792, a lottery was authorized by the vestry to raise funds to repair the church and glebe at a cost of 300 pounds. Over 4,300 tickets at $2.00 each were prepared for the lottery, which would have raised $6,600, with a drawing of tickets for prizes to go to the holders of the winning numbers. But near the time of the drawing, the vestry suddenly decided to cancle the lottery, and the ticket money was refunded to all ticket purchasers.
In the late 18th century the church say idle. Nearby neighbors considered tearing down the Church and reusing the materials, but were stopped by Mrs. Muscoe Garnett.
In the late 18th century, the Rev. John P. McGuire took charge of St. Anne's Parish, and regular services resumed. Since the parish no longer owned the glebe at Cloverfield, Rev. McGuire built a brick rectory located about two miles from Farmer's Fork at Iraville. In 1827, the interorior of Vauter's Church was remodeled, the box pews were reduced in height, and the present two-deck pulpit replaced the colonial one of three decks.
In December of 1882, the vestry voted to protect the foundations of the church building. A three-foot-wide ditch was dug on the west side of the building and filled in with logs that were set on end in the ditch, and projected one foot out above the line of the bottom of the foundation. The logs were said to be the durable timber obtainable, and the space between the top of the logs and the church was then filled with dirt. The church is in possession of a photo taken in the early 1900s in which these logs are visible.
In 1886, the Vestry proposed "the pulpit and desk be removed and new ones substituted in their place. The chancel rail by the choir be removed and extended, that the pews be cut off on the side between the chancel and the vestry room, and an aisle made from the chancel to the vestry room along the wall, and a door cut into the vestry room leading into said aisle." At the next meeting, a report was submitted with cost of materials and work. on the "Church cancel furniture and aisle" amounting to $44.30. The repairs were completed by March 1887.
Vauter's Episcopal Church
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