Our History

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The Anglican faith came to Virginia at nearby Jamestown in 1607 with the first English

settlers. By 1642, the Suffolk area, which was then part of Nansemond County, was divided

into three parishes, and today's downtown region was then known as the Upper Parish.

Five church buildings, in five distinct locations, have served St. Paul's throughout its history,

including its present home. The earliest church is believed to have been constructed c.1643

on the banks of the Nansemond River, just north of today's downtown area, as

transportation in this period would have been primarily by water. Around 1753, the parish

moved downtown, not far from where the parish currently resides.

The present 1895 Gothic-style church building is filled with relics from many periods of the

past and reminds us not only of the historical struggles of our nation, but of our long history

of building faith in downtown Suffolk. Major additions and alterations were made to the

building in 1914, 1922, and 1964. Many of the features of the current sanctuary date to

renovations from the 1960s. The chapel, added in 1989, features several important pieces

from the distant past, including wooden tablets displaying the Lord's Prayer, Apostles'

Creed, and the Ten Commandments.

History, in the form of outreach to the community and service to God, continues at St.

Paul's. If you would like to explore St. Paul's history in greater depth, take a look at the

relics throughout the church, photographs and other materials in the Guild Room, see

photographs of past bishops and rectors who have served St. Paul's, or speak to a

member of the church leadership for further guidance, please feel free to contact the


Contact the church today by calling (757) 539-2478

Est. 1643
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Est. 1643
Our History