An Informal History of the Rectory
[Excerpted from our weekly email updates – Editor]
“The recent renovation of our Rectory to welcome the Stevens family piqued my curiosity about the history of the Rector’s residence as an integral part of the life of our nearly 200 year old parish. With apologies to Lynn Farnell, Church Historian, and Beverly Hurney, Churchyard Superintendent, I offer an unofficial armchair tour of the homes of former Rectors of St. Mary’s.
“The first evidence of clergy housing appears to have been the yellow three story house on the corner of Washington and Concord Streets, which is now an office building, having once been the home of the Lucy Jackson Chapter of the D.A.R. In 1824 Samuel Brown, Esq., “a generous friend of St. Mary’s,” willed the house to Reverend Dr. Alfred Baury, whose portrait hangs over the sofa in the Chapter Room. Dr. Baury prepared his sermons in the third floor study.
“Reverend Richard F. Putnam (1868-1875) lived on Pine Grove Avenue before moving to a house on Concord Street (not the current Rectory) owned by the parish. Reverend Henry McKay (1875-1872) lived in the Baury house, which was ultimately sold to St. Mary’s after the death of Elizabeth Platt Baury, Dr. Baury’s last surviving child. Reverend Benjamin Hutchinson (1883-1884) lived in the former Pillar House which was removed several years ago from Quinobequin Road and I-95. The former Rectory on Concord Street was occupied by Reverend William Goodhue Wells and Reverend H. V. Munroe during the period 1885 to 1901. From 1901 to 1909, Reverend Thomas Lafayette Cole lived on Glen Road.
“In 1910 the parish purchased the Valentine House on Washington Street, which served as the Rectory until our current Rectory at 260 Concord Street was built and occupied by Reverend Roger Williams Bennett on December 20, 1946. Prior occupants of the Valentine House had been Reverends Francis Bingham White, Ransom Moore and Guy Wilber Miner. Since Reverend Bennett, the current Rectory has been home to Reverends William G. Berndt, Larry Walton and Peter Chase and their families.
“We are so pleased to now have the Stevens family in residence, adding their own experiences to those who have preceded them.”