Julie L. Sloan

Wood engraving by Abel Bowen of Boston, ca. 1828, of the first church building, 1734-1828, built by John 'Indicott.' (Courtesy Bostonian Society, Boston, Massachusetts)

Wood engraving by Abel Bowen of Boston, ca. 1828, of the first church building, 1734-1828, built by John

Trinity Church, Boston

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"In 1625 the Reverend William Blaxton, an Anglican clergyman, arrived in what was later named Boston and settled on the slope of a hill (now Beacon Hill). He lived there as the lone white man until 1630, when Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Company arrived to colonize the area. The Puritans firmly established their church to be supported by all citizens and Blaxton departed for Rhode Island, where he hoped for more tolerance. Ironically, over fifty years passed before the church which Blaxton represented became a part of the religious life of the town.

These obstinate, zealous Puritans resisted any English attempt to impose Anglicanism, which certainly between 1649 and 1660 the Commonwealth had no interest in doing. Finally in 1686, King William sent, along with his new representative, Joseph Dudley, the Reverend Robert Ratcliffe, whose mission was to establish an Anglican parish in Boston. Dudley's successor, Sir Edmund Andros, appropriated the Old South Church (Congregational) for services at certain times until King's Chapel was finished in 1688. A second Episcopal church, Christ Church (the "Old North" Church), was built in 1723, but in a few years' time these parishes had grown to such an extent that the need was felt for yet another.

A wealthy Anglican, Leonard Vassall, bought some land in 1728 which he conveyed in 1730 to a committee which was to erect a church on the site within five years and five months). Subscriptions were raised for the embryonic church, and an attempt was made to secure additional funds from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, a missionary group in London which helped finance new churches. The Reverend Roger (Mr. Commissary) Price, the representative of the Bishop of London in Boston, disapproved of the new project; therefore no money was forthcoming from that source. (This proved a blessing of sorts, for from the beginning Trinity had to take responsibility for raising and disbursing its own money.) Nonetheless, there was sufficient conviction of the project's worthiness that on October 1733, fourteen men met in Luke Verdy's tavern, the Royal Exchange, to elect four of their number - "Peter Luce, Merchant; Thomas Child, Distiller; William Price, Cabinet Maker; Thomas Greene, Merchant" - to the Building Committee for the newly constituted church. And on November 12, 1733, the church records report that it was "Voted, that we pay Mr. John Indicott Twenty one Hundred Pounds for Building the Church and finding the Stuff & Excepting the Raising Dinner which he is not to find.

On April 10, 1734, it was "Voted, that the following words be writ on the Stone (Trinity Church this Corner stone was laid by the Rev'd Mr. Commissary Price 15th April 1734.)" A year later, in the summer, the building was nearing readiness and "Mr. Commissary Price appointed Fryday the 15th August 1735 to be the day when he would Preach the first Sermon in Trinity Church."

From "History of the Parish, 1728-1978" Trinity Church: The Story of an Episcopal Parish in the City of Boston, The Wardens & Vestry of Trinity Church in the City of Boston, 1978, Bettina Norton, ed.