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Parish History Notes 10: The Appearance of Fork Church circa 1738

If we could pierce the dimension of time and visit the church of St. Martin’s Parish in 1738, what would we see?  The overall exterior appearance is familiar, except there are no porches, so decorative brickwork is visible on the wall above each entrance.  The North and East facades are uninterrupted [the chimney and access door come 220 years later] and, of course, there is no cemetery.

The paneling and hardware around both entrances reflect the highest quality of workmanship offered by local artisans.  As we pass through the front entrance we enter immediately into the nave area.  The gallery exists above, but there is no partition forming a room on either side.  The pews are box-style, with tall sides and with bench seats around the interior perimeter of each compartment.  Any heat is provided in vessels brought by members of the congregation for use in their personal boxes.  Light is provided by sunshine and candles.  A familiar pulpit is positioned on a square box high above the pews between the third and fourth windows on the North side of the church, with steps down to the chancel.  [There are two vertical shadows that are still visible in the plaster where the pulpit had been attached to the wall.]  The gallery has a level floor, and is used for servants.  No musical instrument can be seen.  There is only a pitchpipe to keep the congregation in tune.  The communion railing is square and massive.

Back to the present, with electricity, heat and even a little plumbing, we can appreciate how much remains similar or unchanged from the builder’s concept.  We can still touch much of the original material.