First Parish in Plymouth - Plymouth, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
N 41° 57.330 W 070° 39.885
19T E 362031 N 4646175
Quick Description: This church, dedicated in 1899, is the fifth church building on this site, being the location of the first meeting house built by the Pilgrims in 1622.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 2/16/2012 2:37:59 AM
Waymark Code: WMDQTA
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 4

Long Description:
This historic church building sits at the eastern base of the old Burial Ground which sits on the hill above the church. The earliest Pilgrims, and the fabled Indian friend, Squanto, were buried here. The church faces Town Square and Leyden street looking down toward Plymouth Rock and the harbor where the Mayflower first landed.

Adjacent to the church is the 1749 courthouse to the south, and the Church of the Pilgrimage on the north.

There are tours available during the main tourist season, with public parking and transportation nearby.

The Church of Scrooby Leyden and the Mayflower
gathered on this hillside in 1620
has ever since preserved unbroken records
and maintained a continuous ministry
its first covenant being still the basis of its fellowship.
In reverent memory of its pilgrim founders
this fifth meeting-house was erected A.D. MDCCCXCVII.

From the official web site for First Parish in Plymouth:

"First Parish Church in Plymouth is the oldest continuous church in New England. We trace our origin back to the year 1606 when a group of dissenters from the Church of England banded together in Scrooby. Persecution forced the Scrooby congregation to flee England and, in 1608, the group settled in Leyden, Holland, under the leadership of their pastor, John Robinson.

In 1620 part of the Leyden congregation set sail aboard the Mayflower, seeking a permanent home in the New World. These pilgrims were seeking the freedom to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience.

In 1800 this church became Unitarian and is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Association formed in 1961"

Further details found at the site for the First Parish Meetinghouse Restoration:

"First Parish Meetinghouse stands at the foot of Plymouth’s Burial Hill and the top of Leyden Street, the oldest street in America and the original site of Plimoth Plantation. There has been a place of worship on this site continually since the Pilgrims built their Fort Meetinghouse here in 1622.

The present Meetinghouse is the fifth structure built here and was designed by Hartwell, Richardson and Driver of Boston. It was constructed with funds raised through a national campaign, and was dedicated as the “National Memorial Pilgrim Church” in 1899.

The current Meetinghouse replaced a wooden structure that burned to the ground in 1892 when the building was being repaired. When the first shock of surprise and sorrow had passed, the congregation quickly determined that the fifth edifice should soon be reared, to perpetuate Pilgrim history.

On the 19th of June, 1893, a parish meeting was held to consider plans of the proposed new church. After several meetings, and much discussion, it was decide to accept those of Hartwell, Richardson and Driver of Boston. The architecture is of the English-Norman type, and bears some resemblance to the ancient church at Scrooby.

The tower contains a belfry, in which the town bell cast by Paul Revere in 1801, is placed, and which hung in the old church ringing the nine o’clock curfew for three generations, and on the night of the fire, sounding the alarm, just before it fell among the burning ruins.

The cornerstone of the new edifice was laid on Monday, June 29th 1896, with suitable ceremonies, and in the presence of a throng of glad and grateful friends, who rejoiced to see the opening fulfillment of their heart’s desire.

The first service in the New Kendall Hall was held on April 25th 1897, and Sunday services continued to be held there until the dedication of the Church on Thursday December 21st 1899."

Here are a few more details about the bell, windows, interior and structure of the building from: Wicked Local Plymouth

"A tribute to American craftsmanship, it boasts outstanding Tiffany stained-glass windows illustrating the Pilgrim story, and also houses the town bell, cast by Paul Revere and rung by the sexton six times a day to mark the time in the old New England manner.

The sanctuary’s interior is of carved quarter-sawn oak and is one of the best examples of hammer beam construction in the United States. Guided tours of the church will be offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each Friday, Saturday and Sunday beginning Memorial Day weekend and running through November, with special tour times added during the Thanksgiving season."

Actually, the original bell, cast bey Paul Revere in 1801, one of the earliest castings, was cracked in the fire that destroyed the fourth church which this one replaced. The Bell was recast by the Blake Bell Company in 1896, the continuation of the original Revere Foundry.

According to the Community Preservation Coalition, "The bell had fallen out of regular use around 1975, when the last town sexton (paid to ring it) retired. In the 1990s, when the town attempted to sound the bell for a ceremonial occasion, it was found that the clapper mechanism was broken. CPA funds appropriated by Plymouth Town Meeting in 2005 allowed repair of the mechanism, as well as of the access route to the bell. The town also received a perpetual easement to the church bell tower in exchange for the CPA funds appropriated, so as to be able to access it as desired for town use."

Date the Church was built, dedicated or cornerstone laid: 6/26/1896

Age of Church building determined by?: Church website

If denomination of Church is not part of the name, please provide it here: Unitarian Universalist

If Church holds a weekly worship service and "all are welcome", please give the day of the week: Sunday

Indicate the time that the primary worship service is held. List only one: 10:30 AM

Street address of Church:
19 Town Square
Plymouth, MA United States

Primary website for Church or Historic Church Building: [Web Link]

Secondary Website for Church or Historic Church Building: [Web Link]

If Church is open to the public, please indicate hours: Not listed

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