Hungar's Church - Northampton County, P.O. Box 367 Eastville, Virginia 23347

Hungars Church (1890)I want to start by saying this site is my own and is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not owned by, affiliated with or endorsed by The Hungars Episcopal Church or any other group or organization. There is quite a bit of misinformation posted on the Internet regarding this subject, and I felt it necessary to attempt to set the record straight. The first of these is an undated pamphlet titled “ The History of Hungars Church.” In this article it is claimed that the church was built in 1645 by a will made by Richard Vaughn for a gift of tobacco "Toward the building of a house for God's service." A thorough search of the records on file at the Northampton Courthouse will show this research to be both incorrect and highly improbable. I have no quarrel with their version of the building of the second and third church buildings on this site as they do agree with the records. To believe this first account you would have to consider the building only lasted nine years and have to discount Wm. Cotton being the first minister. (Anne Graves, daughter of Capt. Thomas Graves, married the Reverend William Cotton by 10 July 1637. He was deceased by 1640, by the previous account he could never have been the pastor of Hungars Church!) If you take the correct first account of the first building listed below and compare the records of the second building dated 9 July 1679, two things are apparent (1) the original structure lasted 43 years (2) the roof was saved for the second structure and interestingly the dimensions are very close to the first building 40’ X 20’ X 10’, the first building being 40’ X 18’ X 9 ‘. In addition, there is yet another website saying the first church building was constructed around 1679, clearly this was the date of the second building and not the first. There are so many correct references of the following account that I could not list them all on this page so I am providing instead a transcription of the original records and the reference sources.

The first record {Northampton Order Book 1, 1632-40 page 58} dated 14 September 1635 states the following:

“At this court Mr. William Cotton (Minister) presented an order of court from James City for the building of a Parsonage House upon the Glebe land. …Which by this board referred to be ordered by the Vestry, and because there has been here to fore no formal Vestry and no Vestrymen appointed. We have from this present day appointed to be vestrymen those whose names are underwritten; Wm. Cotton (Minister), Captain Thomas Graves, Obedience Robins, John Howe, William Stone (first Protestant Governor of Maryland), William Burdett, William Andrews, John Wilkins, Alexander Mountray, Edward Drews, William Beniman and Stephen Charlton . And further we order that the first meeting of the vestrymen shall be held upon the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel, being the 29 th of September (1635)

The first Vestry meeting was held according to the orders of the court and the following is a transcription of the record made:

“ It is agreed by this Vestry that a parsonage house should be built upon the glebe land by Christyde next (the coming of the new year) and that the said house shall be forty feet long and eighteen feet wide and nine feet to the wall plates and that there shall be a chimney at each end of the house, and upon each side of the chimney a room, one for a study, the other for a buttery, also a petition near the midst of the house with two doors, one to go into the kitchen the other the chamber (sanctuary). Also it is agreed that the now churchwardens shall have power to agree with workmen for the building of the said house and to provide nails and at the next session bring to the vestry the full charge of said building of all unto there belonging”

Captain Thomas Graves died between November of 1635 and the 5 th of January 1636 when suit was entered against a servant of Ms. Graves. The court was petitioned by Anthony Wills that a John Culpepper (servant of Mrs. Graves) had killed two hogs belonging to the said Wills. The court ordered Mrs. Graves to pay unto the said Wills a sow of one and one half years old for default thereof, and that the said Culpepper be whipped presently and have thirty lashes.

So now we must say “how do we know the church was actually built?” Again, we turn to the original records {Northampton Order Book 1, 1632-40 page 73} the following is stated:

“At a vestry holden at Acchawmach this 20 th day of May 1636, Having taken into account the remote living of the members of the Parish from the church, It is agreed that all such persons as live at the Old Plantation from the land of Mrs. Graves unto ……. The head of the old plantation creek that they shall cause bodies to be buried on one part of the land of Wm. Blower where Wm. Berryman liveth and likewise that they give notice unto the minister and provide convenient means for his coming there to bury the dead”.

This record establishes the fact that the church had been built by May 1636 and it also gives us the date of one of the first recorded cemeteries of English origin in the new colony. This group known as Smythe’s Hundred was led by Captain Thomas Graves. The cemetery still exists on the eastern shore near Hungars and is over 369 years old! For photos and additional info please visit my website at and go to the God’s acre photo album. For additional info on the Reverend William Cotton please visit for an excellent biography by William R. Gann.If you have comments or questions my e-mail is listed on my website. I have posted all that I have here and on my home page. If you don’t find it here I have no further information*.