Landmarks

With over 400 years of history, New Kent County hosts some of Virginia's great historic landmarks.

St. Peter's Church

"First Church of the First First-Lady"

Located in New Kent County, St. Peter’s Parish was established on April 29, 1678. In the summer of 1700 the vestry ordered that a second Lower Church replace an earlier, structurally weak building known as the Broken Back’d Church. Construction of the new church, began in 1701, and was in use by July 1703.

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In January 1759 the Rector of St. Peter’s Parish, the Reverend Mr. David Mossom, solemnized the marriage of Col. George Washington and Martha Dandridge Curtis. It has always been assumed that another future First-Lady, Letitia Christian, later the wife of President John Tyler, was baptized in the parish church in 1790.

The original portion of St. Peter’s Parish Church is one of the few Jacobean structures in America. Its 1740 stump tower is also rare. The body of the church is laid in English bond as are only three other colonial Virginia churches. In the churchyard are several colonial tombs. Arrangements for private tours or large groups must be scheduled in advance.

New Kent County Courthouse

The original New Kent County Courthouse was established 1695 at this present location. After several fires, the existing “old courthouse” was built in 1909. This courthouse was used for over 70 years until a new courthouse was built a short distance behind it. Also located on the Courthouse grounds remains a restored old jail that is now home to the New Kent Historical Society.

The New Kent Ordinary

In 1692, after donating the land to build the County Courthouse, Colonel William Bassett built the New Kent Ordinary; it is one of the few remaining intact today. At the time Ordinaries were a tavern and inn where the public could purchase food, drink and lodging.

The Ordinary is located midway between Richmond and Williamsburg and was operated continuously from 1692 to 1937. Among its notable guests were: General George Washington, as he courted local widow Martha Dandridge Custis; General Marquis de Lafayette; General McLellan and Presidents Tyler and Harrison. Revolutionary War soldiers and Union and Confederate troops set up encampments on the Ordinary grounds. The Tavern was the site of many plans, toasts, deals, sales, boasts and wagers, particularly on Court Days when all of the local business was conducted.

A private residence for 55 years, the Ordinary, its grounds, and outbuildings are currently being carefully restored and updated.

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New Kent County, Virginia - Tourism

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