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Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church (Forest, Virginia)

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Built  1844
VLR #  009-0029
Opened  1844
Phone  +1 434-525-5511
NRHP Reference #  85002766
Designated VLR  August 13, 1985
Area  2 ha
Added to NRHP  7 November 1985
Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church (Forest, Virginia)
Location  VA 663, Forest, Virginia
Address  1695 Perrowville Rd, Forest, VA 24551, USA
Architectural style  Greek Revival architecture
Similar  Great Smoky Mountains, Great Smoky Mountain, Splash Down Waterpark, Forest Hill Park, Water Country USA

Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church is a historic Episcopal church located at Forest, Bedford County, Virginia.



It was built in 1824 and is the 2nd oldest Episcopal Church in the Lynchburg area. Saint Stephen's was established by Nicholas Hamner Cobbs (later Bishop of Alabama) in 1824. Cobbs was the Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Boonsboro and would ride his horse from one location to the other to provide Sunday services.

The first building was completed in 1825 on land given by Anne Irvine Moseley, the mother of Elizabeth Moseley Radford. Moseley had purchased part of the Poplar Forest tract from Martha Jefferson Randolph, the oldest daughter of Thomas Jefferson, who had given the land to his daughter for her dowry in 1790. The original church was torn down and the present one erected on the same site in 1844.

In the same year, William Radford and Elizabeth Moseley Radford deeded additional land to enlarge the church property and provide a cemetery for members. The cemetery is still in use today. A lack of funds to make necessary repairs closed the church temporarily in 1911, although occasional services were held.

In 1941, at the instigation of Malcolm Griffin, the church was restored and reopened. Since that date, services have been held continuously. A 2004 renovation project expanded the choir area and enlarged the front area where preaching occurs.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The associated Old Rectory was listed in 1973.


The church has retained much of the original furnishings, including the pews, the altar rail and the Bishop’s chair. All the doors and windows are original. In 1897, the gallery at the back of the church was removed, but the side door entrance remains. In the same year, the wooden ceiling and a recessed chancel were added. It is believed that the marble baptismal font was installed during this period, since the pedestal bears the label of Lynchburg Marble Works which was in business from 1879-1883.

When the church reopened in the 1940s, the present altar, the Priest’s and Bishop’s chairs (designed by local artisans Julian and George Lindsey), and the altar cross and prayer stand were given as memorials. The Tiffany stained glass window above the altar was given by a subscription raised by Ethel Dirom.


The church building is a one-storey, three-bay, brick building with partial basement and Greek Revival style trim. It measures 36 feet wide and 61 feet long, and has a low-pitched gable roof.


Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church (Forest, Virginia) Wikipedia

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