Historical Notes, Guide to the Monuments, Present Activities
Specimen Type: Booklet
Estimated Age: August 25, 1935
King’s Chapel, Founded A. D. 1986, Historical Notes, Guide to the Monuments, Present Activities. –Compiled by Rev. Harold E. B. Speight, D. D. Printed for the Warden and the Vestry of King’s Chapel by the Riverdale Press, Brookline, Boston, Mass.
This booklet was purchased from a bookstore in Boston, Massachusetts. It is the eighth volume out of eight volumes:
No. 1 A Bishop’s Invitation and the Answer.
No. 2 Altars to Unknown Gods.
No. 3 The Conversion of a Sinner.
No. 4 The New Reformation.
No. 5 Fifty Years in Two Parishes.
No. 6 The Return of the Soul.
No. 7 The Unitarian Church.
No.8 King’s Chapel, Founded A. D. 1686, Historical Notes, Guide to the Monuments, Present Activities.
Guide to the Monuments
Starting from the main entrance and turning to the right, the visitor will find in turn:
- The Civil War Monument to the fourteen sons of King’s Chapel who died for the cause of the Union. Dedicated May 29, 1870.
- A bust of Arthur Theodore Lyman, 1832-1915, a member of the Vestry from 1863 to 1915 and Senior Warden for thirty-eight years, a very eminent citizen and a leader in the manufacturing industries of New England. During the fifty-two years of his service as Warden and Vestryman he was constant in his devotion to the interests of the Church.
- On the wall beside the stairs leading to the south gallery is a tablet in memory of Kirk Boott (1750-1817), a Vestryman for twenty-one years. He was a Merchant from London, naturalized in 1787.
- Memorial to the Hon. William Sullivan, LL. D. (1774-1839), a Vestryman for twenty-eight years, ingenuous, benignant, upright, well versed in affairs civil and military, an eminent lawyer, and eloquent advocate. The arms and crest of the Sullivans are reproduced, with the Gaelic motto meaning “What we gain by conquest we secure by clemency.”
- A monument, surmounted by armorial bearings, perpetuating the strong features of the Hon. John Lowell (1769-1840), whose fervid genius and rapid pen were enlisted in the cause of the Federal party in national affairs and of the liberal movement in religion.
- A monument to Thomas Newton, Esquire, a gentleman of exalted virtues, a lawyer who held many important offices in New Hampshire and Massachusetts in his time
- The Shirley Monument. To General William Shirley (Royal Governor 1741 to 1756) more than to any other man the church was indebted for generous services in the building of the present edifice. Born in England in 1693, he came to this country in 1734 and died in 1771; his occupancy of the Governors chair was marked by French and Indian wars in which he advanced the British cause. The Monument commemorates Governor Shirley’s wife, Frances, and a daughter, who bore her name. The Governors Pew occupied the position of the pews numbered 31 and 32.
- Tablet to Roger Walcott (1845-1900), Governor of Massachusetts, 1897-1900, a Vestryman of Kings Chapel.
- Tablet to Robert Swain Peabody (1845-1917), eminent architect. Vestryman and Warden of Kings Chapel, a son of the Reverend Ephraim Peabody.
- Bust of the Reverend Ephraim Peabody, D. D. (1807-1856), Minister of King’s Chapel, 1845-1856.
- Bust of the Reverend James Freeman, D. D. (1759-1836), Minister, 1787-1836, under whom the church became Unitarian in teaching and worship.
- Bust of the Reverend Francis William Pitt Greenwood, D. D. (1797-1843), colleague and successor of Dr. Freeman and Minister of Kings Chapel 1836-1843.
- Bust of the Reverend Henry Wilder Foote (1838-1889), Minister of King’s Chapel 1861-1889.
- Tablet to Frances Eliot Foote (1838-1896), wife of a former minister, greatly loved by the congregation.
- Tablet to Charles Pelham Curtis (1792-1864). Treasurer of King;s Chapel for thirty-four years.
- Tablet to William Price. Died 1771, aged 87. An early benefactor of King’s Chapel.
- Tablet to Charles Pelham Curtis (1824-1906). A Warden for twenty-four years.
- Tablet to Charles Apthorp (1698-1758). This tablet bears a Latin inscription and a coat of arms. In the words of a contemporary, Apthorp was “the greatest and most noted Merchant on this Continent.”
- Tablet to Samuel Appleton (1764-1853). A “Boston Merchant.” A leader during the first half of the nineteenth century in Boston’s commercial, philanthropic, and literary life.
- Tablet to Joseph May (1760-1844). A devoted member of King’s Chapel in the transition period after the Revolution. A Warden for over thirty years.
- Tablet to Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894). “Teacher of Anatomy, Essayist, Poet.” Tablet erected by King’s Chapel in 1905.
- Tablet to the Reverend Theodore Chickering Williams (1855-1915). Minister of All Souls Church, New York City, Headmaster of Hackley School and of the Roxbury Latin School, Translator of Virgil and Tibullus, and author of many Well-known hymns.
- Bronze Tablet to William Endicott (1826-1914). A Boston merchant, officer in the Civil War. Tablet placed by the Loyal Legion.
- Tablet to George Barrell Emerson (1797-1881), Warden for fifteen years.
- Tablet to Elizabeth May Stedman Spring (1864-1923). Mrs. Spring was “A Musician who found and helped others find the Harmony of Life.”
- Monument to Samuel Vassall. “A London Merchant.” A defender of freedom in England in the 17th century. His father “the gallant ]ohh Vassall,” in 1588 fitted out at his own expense, and commanded, two ships which fought against the Spanish Armada. The descendants built the house on Brattle Street, Cambridge, which was afterwards the home of Longfellow. They were royalists and left New England at the time of the Revolution. Some of the family were buried under the monument. It was erected by Florentius Vassall, of ]amaica, in 1766.
- World War Memorial Doorway (to be erected in the near future) recalling the service and sacrifice of Hamilton Coolidge, Helen Homans, and Edward Blake Robins, Jr. “These died leaving an example of noble courage.”
- Tablet to Peter Harrison, Architect of the Church, born in England in 1716, placed here by architects of Boston in 1918.
THE CHANCEL, PULPIT, AND ROYAL PEW
Besides the busts referred to on page 8 (11 and 12) the Chancel contains the original Communion Table (1686) and on the East wall are four panels which were also in the first
wooden church. “Boston, March 23, 1696-97. The Decalouge, viz., thee tenn Comandments, the Lords Prayer, and the Creed were drawne in England and Brought over by Mr. Samuell Myles in July, 1696.” (From the Church records.) The Creed is retained on the wall not as an expression of the faith of the present congregation, but as a part of the historic furnishings of the Church. The marble steps of the chancel were given in memory of a devoted member of the Church, Fannie Bartlett, whose character is summed up by the one word inscribed upon them, Fidelis.
The pulpit, erected in 1717, is the oldest in this country still in use on its original site.
The Governor’s, or Royal, Pew. The pews now numbered 31 and 32 occupy the position of the special pew, raised by two steps above the rest, in which sat the representatives of the British monarchs. It was formerly covered by a canopy and hung with crimson curtains. The pew
was demolished in 1826.
Above the organ may be seen the crown and two bishops mitres, which were taken down and concealed during the Revolution and not replaced until 1867.
“Still keeps our gray old Chapel’s name of ‘King’s;
Still to its outworn symbols fondly clings,
Its unchurched Initres and its empty crown.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Another pew of interest is No. 102 in the north gallery, which was regularly used by Oliver Wendell Holmes long a devout worshipper in King’s Chapel.
THE COMMUNION PLATE
Among other objects of interest is the communion plate. The ancient silver was presented to King’s Chapel at various times by their Majesties, William and Mary, George II, and
George III. Most of this, to the amount of twenty-eight hundred ounces of silver, was carried away by the last Royalist Rector on the evacuation of Boston by the British troops in March, 1776. The present Plate is the gift of members of the Church, at different times subsequent to the Revolution, many pieces having at one time belonged to the New North Church, founded in 1714. In 1922 the oldest Unitarian Church in the world, at Kolozsvar, Transylvania, presented to King’s Chapel a gold-embroidered altar-cloth made by a member of that congregation more than two hundred and fifty years ago. It is placed on the Table for Communion Services.
The silver cross was a gift of James W. Paige, Jr., in 1875.
The bell in the tower was recast in 1815 by Paul Revere and Son from the metal of the bell which came from England in 1772; after long disuse, it was rehung in 1923 and is rung not only on Sunday mornings but also daily at noon during the season of the week-day services.
Under the Church are twenty-one tombs once belonging to prominent Boston families. Further use of these tombs was forbidden by the provisions of an Act of the General Court in 1890. Another tomb, under the vesubule, was called the “Strangers’ Tomb.”
THE ST. SAUVEUR MONUMENT
Outside the Church stands the Monument to the Chevalier St. Saver, a naval officer attached to a French man-of-war visiting Boston on September 15, 1778. The Chevalier was killed in a riot in Boston and buried under King’s Chapel. The General Court of Massachusetts voted to erect a monument to his memory on September 16, 1778, and the State carried the vote into effect on June 1, 1916, by the erection of the present monument standing in the enclosure north of the portico.
The fence surrounding the Church was a gift erected in 1922, to the memory of Julia Lyman, a devoted member and benefactor of the Church.
King’s Chapel House
27 Marlborough Street