Brentsville Union Church

Brentsville Union Church, Brentsville Courthouse Historic Center, Bristow, Virginia

Brentsville Union Church

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Brentsville Union Church

Brentsville Union Church is one of the five historic buildings within the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Center. In the previous post we took a look at the Courthouse itself as well as the overall history of the town.

The history of the founding of the Brentsville Union Church parallels the history of the original tract from which the town of Brentsville was formed. Brentsville is situated on the eastern corner of a 30,000-acre tract granted in 1686-87 by England’s King James II to George Brent, Richard Foote, Robert Bristow, and Nicholas Hayward. The grant was designed as a religious haven for people of all faiths. Brentsville Union Church, established almost 300 years after the Brent Town tract was granted, was founded as a church to be used by different religious denominations.

In 1871, George M. Goodwin sold to the trustees of Union Church in Brentsville the 50’ x 50’ part of the old tavern lot for the erection of a church “for the use of the Congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church south, the Presbyterian Episcopalian, the New and both branches of the old school Baptist Churches, worshiping in Brentsville”.

There is a wonderful copy of a newspaper clipping from the June 21, 1871 Alexandria Gazette on the information sign near the church. It reads:

‘CHURCH AT BRENTSVILLE PRINCE WILLIAM CO VA – I am requesting to inform your readers that a delegation of ladies from this village will visit your city some day this week fully authorized to solicit contributions from your liberal people to aid in the erection of a church proposed to be built here. A festival will be held on the Court green, here Monday next, by the ladies, the proceeds of which will be appropriated to the above named purpose. The Hotel proprietors in this place have very generously declined furnishing any dinner that day, so that the ample repast spread by the ladies may be enjoyed by all. Every delicacy the season affords will be procured.

It is hoped your merchants and citizens generally will lend these ladies a helping hand and contribute to the object they have in view. The church will be free to white ministers of the Methodist Episcopalian Church South, Presbyterian, Episcopal, the New and both branches of the Old School Baptist Church.”

Brentsville Union Church, Brentsville Courthouse Historic Center, Bristow, Virginia

Brentsville Union Church

–  Click on the image to enlarge or purchase  –

Brentsville Union Church was built in approximately 1880. It is a simple vernacular county church. Local congregations worshiped here into the 1960s, when the building was used for storage and then abandoned. Beginning in 2001, the Church was saved from collapse and restored to its original appearance.

The information for this post comes from the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission Survey from from June 1980 and the information leaflet collected at the site.

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  1. you do such a good job with these shots Mark, looks so peaceful and almost pastoral, well done!

  2. I agree with Jim about your posts Mark. Really digging the perspective of that first image – so well composed.

  3. Really nice images Mark. I love the way the church is sandwiched between the two groups of colour that are left on the tree and that have fallen to the ground.

    Great history lesson again as well!

  4. Nicely done Mark. I really like the composition of the first image.

  5. Nice images and story Mark. I’m with everyone else in really liking that first shot.

  6. These images are sharp and clean, Mark I always enjoy these write-ups. You do a great job.

    Nice find!

  7. Love the images. They are so full of detail and color.

    I love these old Churches, this church reminds me of the old Church my grandmother and grandfater (passed away) go to and have gone to most of their lives and was built about the same time as this one was.

    These old churches have a lot of history, its great that this one was saved and restored. I hope my grandparents old church will have the same chance, they only have six members left and they are all in their late 80s-90s.

    Thanks for sharing your images and the history.

  8. What a wonderful fall image of this church. The lines of the fence and tree bring you back to the subject too. Simple composition, but very effective.

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