Monday, January 24, 2011

The Parsonage


I must pass this house ten or fifteen times a week going to and from the Court House for this or that. It sits between Bill Dixon's old place and Mathews Baptist Church, shown below. Although I've admired it from afar, especially in warmer months when a wisteria vine blooms out front, I had no inkling there was any special significance to the house until I started doing research for the book.

Come to find out, this is the old parsonage for Mathews Baptist Church, of which I have been a member all my life (although I'm no longer active). Ever since I can remember, however, the parsonage has been a brick house on the way to Gwynn's Island, on the left just before the bend approaching the turn-off to Redart.
I have no idea whether the church still owns the original parsonage.  No one lives there anymore. The house just sits politely and casually observes the passersby and goings-on in bustling downtown Hudgins.

Parsonage is one of those words you rarely hear anymore.  The Free Dictionary has this to say about it:

parsonage - an official residence provided by a church for its parson or vicar or rector;
rectory or vicarage; glebe house.  

We also use the word "glebe" around here lots, primarily because there is a road and an area called the Glebe, associated with the former glebe of Kingston Parish of the Church of England, dating back to 1665. In 1802 parishes were required to sell off all glebes, and in 1810 Kingston Parish auctioned off all its land to benefit the poor.

And this concludes a post which began as a discussion of the original parsonage of Mathews Baptist Church but veered quickly and unintentionally off towards the Glebe before the author realized what was going on.

The End.



Mathews Baptist Church, also known as Old Baptist, was founded in the 1700s.

15 comments:

deborah said...

What a rich and interesting history your part of the country has! Sad that the house just sits there empty- it needs some tlc:)

Anonymous said...

I never knew that either. I can't believe I never heard that story from my grandmother. We had some good times at Mathews Baptist way back when. Remeber the old "lock-in's"?
Hope you enjoyed your Dad's party.
Trinia

Ann Marie said...

Thank you.. my dad and I just recently had the discussion about what exactly was a Glebe!

AverettLadyNana said...

Interesting...didn't know that house had been the parsonage. I remember people living there when I lived in the county/going there one time to see someone but don't recall who it was for certain right now.

I did know the Glebe had something to do with Kingston Parish but did not know the church was made to sell the land off to help the needy back in early 1800's...interesting...

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

Trinia - I never knew it either and was completely surprised to find it in the Mathews Baptist Church folder at teh paper. There was a photo of the house and on the back it said "old parsonage." I suppose it could be a mistake or mis-filed but since it's so close to the church I have to believe it's true. A quick trip to the church or to the county records will confirm and I intend to check it when I get around to the church section of the book I'm working on.

I do remember those lock ins! And trips to Virginia Beach..and maybe even a ski trip or two. WE had a good time.

Happy Monday, everyone.

Mental P Mama said...

That book is coming along;)

Caution Flag said...

I was raised in a series of parsonages. Some better than others. It is becoming a lost word. A couple of years ago I referred to our parsonage with the deacons at my church and they just looked blankly at me. Maybe if our church were as beautiful as yours instead of a warehouse they would know what parsonage means?

These Nine Acres said...

I grew up Baptist. And I volunteer to live in the parsonage. It is beautiful!

Trisha said...

Parsonage I have heard of. Glebe house - never!

Kay L. Davies said...

Fascinating, especially as you veered off into a discussion of the word "glebe" which is unfamiliar to me, although I certainly know the word parsonage. It's a shame the old house is empty.
We use the word "manse" for the house owned by the church, but I suspect that's improper, as the minister doesn't live there, and the house is rented. Therefore, we're supposed to call it "the old manse" just as you would say "the old parsonage".
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food said...

The Methodist church calls it a parsonage, too. But I never knew that Glebe referred to that as well, and I'd guess that most of the thousands of folks in Northern Virginia who travel on Glebe Road don't know either.

Daryl said...

I tried to get a good photo of that church .. Kate and Tracey got some wonderful ones .. mine stunk.

How was the birthday party? I was up to my ears first with pampering ME and then with tending to Toonman .. who except for heinous back pain, is getting better every day ...

Hallieford Jim said...

The definition of the word "glebe" is "a plot of land belonging to an English church" ... definitely fits Mathews.

Country Girl said...

We have a Glebe road around here too. Hmmm.

Diane said...

I've seen that church before!