– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –
St Peters Church Bermuda, is the oldest surviving Anglican church in continuous use outside the British Isles. It is also reportedly the oldest continuously used Protestant church in the New World. It is located in the historic centre of the town of St George’s.
St. George’s Town is the oldest surviving English settlement in the New World, having been settled by the London Company (also called the Charter of the Virginia Company of London or Virginia Company) in 1612 in the aftermath of the wrecking of its flagship, the Sea Venture, in Bermuda in 1609.
The church was established immediately after the founding of the settlement, although the original building, fashioned from wood with a thatched roof, was quickly destroyed. The January, 1620 reconstruction of St Peters was overseen by the then Governor of Bermuda, Nathaniel Butler. When the Parliament of Bermuda was created in 1620, it first met in St Peters, on 1 August, pending completion of its own dedicated home, the State House.
Bermuda is famously stormy, and it has been necessary to rebuild the church more than once during its lifetime, the final structure being of limestone walls, with a limestone slate roof lain on a framework of Bermuda cedar. The oldest parts of the current structure date to the 1620 reconstruction, though the building has been much expanded and improved since then.
The Church of England in Bermuda became grouped with that of Newfoundland in Canada, in the 19th Century, as a common bishopric, a diocese or district under the supervision of a single bishop. With the building of the Hamilton Cathedral in 1894 (the year it was consecrated as such – it would not be completed until 1905), Bermuda attained its own bishopric. Had the capital not relocated to Hamilton from St. George’s (which it had in 1815), St Peters might have become the cathedral.
2012 marked the 400th year since the founding of St Peters Church. It is also the Diamond Jubilee year of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. On 18 March, 2012, the Queen granted St. Peter’s the title Their Majesties’ Chappell.
Learn more about the history of Bermuda here.