Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory - Virginia


St lukes’s Church

St Luke’s Church, Smithfield, VA (36.939653 -76.586717)

Lintel over west doorframe Felling Date: After 1676

Lintel over west doorframe 1676(9); Molded west door head 1672(10); balusters 1633, 1619. Site Master 1532-1671 STC (t = 8.03 VBVMTV; 5.88 VA021; 4.93 MTVx1; 4.11 VA023).

St. Luke’s Church, also called the Old Brick or Newport Parish Church, is probably the best surviving example of 17th-century Gothic architecture in the United States. It features a single-nave plan approximately 24 by 60 feet and a three-story tower, all laid in Flemish-bond brickwork. Only two oak timbers within the structure have been identified as belonging to the primary phase of construction: the molded door head of the west door between the tower and the nave and the supporting lintel above this door. Although neither of the timbers retained bark edge, both retained some sapwood, giving last measured ring dates of 1671 for the door head and 1676 for the lintel. Two ex situ balusters, one reused in the present altar rail and the other in the collection of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts at Winston-Salem, NC, were photographed and dated. Neither retained any sapwood, although the last measured ring dates were found to be 1619 and 1633 respectively.

Worthington, M J, and Miles, D H,  2008 “The Tree-Ring Dating of Timbers from St. Luke’s Church (also known as Newport Parish Church or Old Brick Church), Smithfield, sle of Wight County, Virginia”, ODL unpubl rep 2008/28

Link St. Luke'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