Historic Old Blandford Church & Cemetery
Old Blandford Church of Bristol Parish, built in 1735, is rich with Colonial, Revolutionary, War of 1812 and Confederate history. After a second Episcopal church was built in Petersburg in 1806, the church building was abandoned. In 1901, the Ladies Memorial Association of Petersburg undertook the development of the church into a memorial chapel and Confederate shrine honoring the 30,000 heroes buried near the church. The studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany was commissioned to design 15 memorial compass windows, with the first unveiled in 1904. The Cross of Jewels was a gift from the Tiffany studio.
Memorial services were held at Blandford Church for George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson after their deaths. During the 1781 Battle of Petersburg, British Major General William Phillips died of a fever and was buried in a secret location somewhere in the cemetery at the direction of his deputy commander, Brigadier General Benedict Arnold. The cemetery contains a treasure trove of eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century funerary art, tombs, gravestones and sculpture.
Photos copyright John A. Rooney, Jr.