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January 23, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Baptist Church, Part I

 Buckingham Baptist Church. Photo by Joanne Yeck.

In 1959, Buckingham County historian Lulie Patteson chronicled the history of Buckingham Baptist Church for Charlottesville’s Daily Progress in an article entitled “Old Church in Buckingham Still Stands as Lighthouse of Gospel.” Her evocative style was present in the opening paragraph:

Watched over by the sacred dust of those who have worshiped within its walls through the more than 180 years of its service as a lighthouse of the gospel, old Buckingham church still stands, staunch and beloved; still serving the community as actively as ever.

It was back in the years before the colonies had been forced into protest against the unfair domination of the English that Christopher Clarke, in 1780, came to this section of Buckingham County and preached. Buckingham had been cut from Albemarle County in 1760 (sic) and the whisper — ever-growing — louder of the coming conflict no doubt cast an anxious shadow over the land.

Miss Patteson goes on to relate what happened next. In May of the following year, Rev. Renee Chastain served a Baptist congregation. According to Miss Patteson, Rev. Chastain had just turned twenty-nine years old and was married. She continues:

The brave little band met for a while in an arbor but in 1772, a small “meeting house” was built which, with an addition built years later stands today is the oldest church of any faith in Buckingham County.

It has been said that this had once been the site of the Episcopal church but if so, it had been abandoned before Christopher Clarke held his meeting. The established Church of England preached loyalty to the crown too strongly at that time to be accepted by the man who had lived under its tyranny and who now, were like young eagles beginning to feel the stretch of their wings.

Coming next: Buckingham Baptist Church, Part II


Leave a Comment
  1. Vivienne Smith / Jan 23 2020 6:48 am

    Being a relatively ‘new’ resident of Buckingham County since only 2012; I so look forward to the posts talking about times of old in Buckingham County. I love it here on our little piece of heaven.

    I’ve purchased two books written by the writer of these posts and enjoy reading about the origins and history of this beautiful County and her people.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jan 23 2020 7:00 am

      Thank you, Vivienne. Enjoy the books and, if you haven’t already, explore the archives at Slate River Ramblings!



  1. Buckingham Baptist Church, Part IV | slate river ramblings . . . .
  2. Buckingham Baptist Church, Part III | slate river ramblings . . . .
  3. Buckingham Baptist Church, Part II | slate river ramblings . . . .

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