The established Church in Colonial Virginia was the Church of England. As in England, parishes were "local units of ecclesiastical and community organization".2 The Virginia General Assembly, through legislation, created parishes and defined their boundaries. As the population of Colonial Virginia grew, new parishes were formed and boundary lines changed.
Although the Church of England was dis-established as the official Church following the American Revolution and most of the duties of the vestry turned over to county officials, the parishes continued in existence. The parish boundaries were also used as geographic designations with the residence of parties to deeds being given by parish and county. These designations may be useful in determining in which part of the county the persons resided and the land being conveyed was located.
The charts below diagram the changes in the parishes of Old Rappahannock and Essex Counties from 1656 until the present.
|1661=>1677||Farnham Parish||Sittenburne Parish|
|1677=>1683||North Farnham Parish||South Farnham|
|Sittenburne Parish (western Parish)|
|1683=>1692||North Farnham Parish||South Farnham|
|St. Mary's Parish (western Parish)|
Old Rappahannock County became extinct in 1692 when it was divided into Essex and Richmond Counties. North Farnham Parish fell wholly into Richmond County at the division.
|1692=>1704||South Farnham |
|Sittenburne Parish a|
|St. Mary's Parish
|1704=>1727||South Farnham |
|St. Anne's Parishb|
|St. Mary's Parish
(=> Caroline Co. 1727)
|1727=>Present||South Farnham |
|St. Anne's Parish |
a. A portion of Sittenburne Parish was in Richmond County during this period.
b. St. Anne's Parish was cut off from Sittenburne Parish in 1704. The portion retaining the Sittenburne Parish name fell into Richmond County.
1. Cocke, Charles Francis, Parish Lines in the Diocese of Virginia, (Richmond, Virginia: Virginia State Library), 1978. Pages 140-147.
2. Salmon, Emily J. and Campbell, Edward D. C. Jr., Editors, The Hornbook of Virginia History, (Richmond, Cirginia: The Library of Virginia), 1994. Pages 179-187.
The Village Chapel graphic used on this page is courtesy of The Mousepad.
|Essex County VAGenWeb Page
This page was last updated 8/16/2003