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Christ Church, Winchester



Christ Church Winchester, facade

Christ Church Winchester, facade

Christ Church Winchester, central portal

Christ Church Winchester, central portal

Christ Church Winchester, interior

Christ Church Winchester, interior

Christ Episcopal Church in Winchester is the first example of Gothic Revival architecture in the Shenandoah Valley.  In 1828, architect Robert Mills, known for his Federalist and Neoclassical designs, experimented with the Gothic Revival style for Christ Church. His façade (now completely altered) recalled both classical and Gothic elements with the pointed arch and columns. The façade can be seen reflected in the façade of Saint Thomas’s Chapel in Middletown. 

Mills’ design was rebuilt by an unknown architect in 1855 with the addition of the bell tower and central portal with pointed arch Y-shaped tracery, and pinnacles.   In the center portal, floral patterns and tracery are inscribed on the jambs. The two side portals were added some time before 1890, and finished with pierced quatrefoil balustrades at the roofline. The church plan, measuring 45 by 65 feet, remained mostly faithful to Mills’ design. The interior is five bays long, and illuminated by large pointed arch stained glass windows.  The pseudo hammer beam roof recalls English Gothic exemplars. The chancel at the east end was extended in order to bring the altar forward. A carved wood reredos with a triple ogee arch design deriving from the English Decorated tradition draws the eye toward the chancel.

Caitlin Kimak