Guide To The Grounds

The congregation is blessed to have such a great location in historic downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia. Completed before the Civil War began, this is the second building our congregation gathered in during the past two centuries. Not only is the building Fredericksburg’s oldest house of worship, but it has been in continual use as a house of worship since it was completed in 1833.

Click Image To Enlarge

Presbyterian Church Grounds

Sanctuary

Is the most recognizable building on the grounds. It’s bell tower rings on alternating Sundays. This is the primary building used for worship of our congregation.

Balcony — The Sanctuary does have a balcony. The choir loft is on left side of the balcony. To get to the balcony, use the side doors on either side of the Sanctuary’s portico. The stairs are a bit steep, so do watch you step.

Undercroft — The Undercroft is located directly below the platform of the Sanctuary. “Undercroft” literally means “under the cross,” which is where the Undercroft is located. The easiest entry is the exterior door at the back of of the Sanctuary under the tree; you may also enter from the choir room. The Undercroft is used for classes, meetings, and fellowship gatherings.

Choir Room — To get to the choir room, use the side doors on the right side of the Sanctuary’s portico. The stairs are a bit steep, so do watch you step; or you may enter through the Undercroft.

Church House

The Church House is the row house closest to the Sanctuary. Classes and gatherings are frequently held the Parlor or Dining Room on the building’s first floor. Additional classrooms are located on the second and the Middle School Youth room is located on the third floor fo the Church House.

The Food Pantry is located in the basement of the Church House. The entry is located below the porch of the Church House (follow the stairway to the door).

Middle House

The Middle House is adjacent to the Church House and provides rooms for classes, gatherings, and meetings. The Senior High Youth room is located on the fourth floor of the Middle House.

The Manse

The Manse is the home of the church’s minister. The term “manse” comes from the Latin mansus, meaning “dwelling.” The Manse is owned by the church, but is the private residence of the pastor and his family.

Education Building

The French Memorial Educational Building stands on the site where the French Memorial Chapel once stood (read more in the history section). The Education Building houses children’s classrooms on the second and third floors. The nursery is on the second floor, as are offices for the church staff. The Fellowship Hall is on the lower floor of the Education Building.

Historical Note About the Grounds

The building itself was erected in 1833 and is an exceptional example of Jeffersonian Reformed Revival Architecture. The architectural plan is based on Thomas Jefferson’s design for Christ Church in Charlottesville, and was the first public building in Fredericksburg erected in temple form.

On the corner of the lot, Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson planned the Battle of Fredericksburg. After the battle, the sanctuary was used as a hospital. During the aftermath of the battle Clara Barton, later founder of the Red Cross, volunteered at the field hospital in our sanctuary to care for the 26,191 soldiers who were wounded in the battle.

In 1976, the building was named to the American Presbyterian/Reformed Sites Registry by the Presbyterian Historical Society. It is also listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register (Read the Entry) in 1983. Later in 1984 it was also listed in the the National Register of Historic Places.