History of Immanuel, Old Church

Immanuel Cemetery

Immanuel Episcopal Church is proud of its history and works diligently to preserve its historic building and site. Our origins in the Old Church area date to the early 18th century, when a frame church structure was shared with several other local congregations.

The present brick church was constructed in 1853, largely due to the efforts of George Washington Bassett, grandnephew of Martha Custis Washington. The building is considered to be the best example of Gothic Revival architecture in the county, and it represents the revitalization of the Episcopal Church in Virginia and the United States during the two decades prior to the Civil War.

The church is also famous in the area for having served as a field hospital and army headquarters during the Civil War. Immanuel is a Virginia Historical Landmark and has been placed on the National Registry of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

The Old Church Parish also has connections to actress Katharine Hepburn, whose grandfather, Sewell Hepburn, was rector of the church from 1881 to 1904.

Since our founding, Immanuel has served as a focal point for the Old Church community. The current rectory was built in 1957 and the parish house in 1982. The St. Francis Garden for cremated remains was added to the cemetery in 1998.

Click here for a detailed history.