Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Virginia


St John’s Church

St John’s Church, East Broad Street, Richmond, VA (37.532062, -77.419641)

(a) West transept roof Felling Dates: Winter 1743/4 and Summer 1744

(b) Repair to floor Felling Date: Summer 1813

(c) Reconstruction of north wing Felling Date: Winter 1829/30

(d) Replacement of floor to transepts Felling dates: Winter 1849/50 and Summer 1850

(a) Tiebeam 1743(½C); Ceiling joists 1743(C,½C2), 1742; Wind-brace 1740. (b) Sill beam 1812(½C). (c) Collars (2/3) 1829(C), 1718; Rafters 1779, 1775, 1756; Floor joists (1/2) 1820. (d) Floor joists 1849(C2, ½C). Site Master 1556-1849 SJC (Pine) (t = 10.9 WVVAP; 10.6 TUVA; 8.9 BAC, 7.72 PIEDMONT).

St John’ Church is the oldest surviving church in Richmond and is a National Historic Landmark as the venue of Patrick Henry’s famous speech. It originally consisted of an east-west linear church, to which was later added a north and south wing. The orientation was then changed with the north wing forming the nave or body of the church, and the altar placed in the southern extension. The west end of the primary core of the building was sampled and produced felling dates of winter 1743/4 and summer 1744, slightly later than the traditional 1741 construction date. Documentary sources suggest that the north wing was built in two stages, and the purpose of the dendrochronology was to try and determine if anything survived from the first northern extension thought to date from the 1770s. The analysis however suggested that any earlier wing was pulled down completely and reconstructed shortly after 1830. Finally, replacement floor joists from the original core of the church were found to date to 1850, consistent with documentary evidence of re-pewing at that time

Miles, D H, and Worthington, M J, 2008 “The Tree-Ring Dating of St John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia”, ODL unpubl rep 2008/36

Link St. John's Church webpage here




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Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory

Michael Worthington
Jane Seiter, Ph.D

25 E. Montgomery St.
Baltimore, MD 21230