Manakin Episcopal Church

985 Huguenot Trail

After suffering 150 years of persecution for their religious beliefs in France, it was important to the Huguenots to establish their own Protestant church as soon as possible after arrival in Virginia. And so that very first year they established a church in the new King William Parish.

Led by the Reverend Benjamin de Joux, a minister ordained by the Bishop of London, they built a small octagonal building, probably located near the river between Bernard's Creek and Norwood Creek. In 1710, a new and probably better church was built. The last regular minister of Huguenot descent was Jean Cairon, from 1711-1716. Neighboring ministers served the church, bringing it closer to the Church of England, and English was used more frequently in the church.

Then by 1730 the colonists had moved out of their village at Manakintowne and were settled on farms. They decided to build another church at a more central location at the junction of River Road and the Ferry Road at the cost of 21,600 pounds of tobacco. This building served the members well for 165 years, but in 1895 the congregation decided to build again.

Old Manakin Episcopal Church
1895 Church [owned by Society]
Stained Glass Window
Stained Glass Window in Church

This time it was the white frame Victorian church which we see here and is in the custody of the Society today. No photographs exist for any of the first three church buildings.

Later, with the coming of modern heating, air conditioning, and electric lights, the people felt that the small white frame church was inadequate. Therefore, with the assistance of the Manakin Huguenot Society, a fifth brick church was built with modern facilities in 1954. Modeled after William Byrd's church at Westover in Charles City County, it serves as a reminder of the help Byrd gave to the original settlers of Manakintowne. Today Manakin Church continues to serve the spiritual needs of the community, as it has for more than 300 years. The 1895 church is owned by the society and is still functional, with a small pedaled organ.


Huguenot House Tour