Parish History

Clarke County was formed from a small part of Frederick County in 1836, so it is understandable that Clarke Parish had its beginnings as part of Frederick Parish which was a combination of several Episcopal churches in and around Winchester, Virginia.

Parish History - Clarke Parish: Old Chapel
Old Chapel & Burwell Cemetery
Millwood, Virginia

‘Old Chapel’, located south of Berryville, was established probably in 1747 as part of Frederick Parish.  During the Revolutionary War, a fire destroyed the original log building which was later replaced by the stone structure that still stands today at this site.

Some members of the original Old Chapel congregation decided to established a mission church four miles northeast of Berryville known as Wickliffe, which became an independent church in 1819 and still part of Frederick Parish. Twelve years later a group of parishioners desired a place to worship closer to the Berryville community – from this church, Grace Church was begun, “a commodious church…erected in town, one block east of Main Street.”

Consecrated in 1813, Grace Episcopal Church in Berryville was at first a mission of Wickliffe (Frederick Parish).  The two churches shared the services of a rector until 1853 when Grace Church became independent and Clarke Parish was born.  In 1919, Wickliffe ceased holding regular weekly services and its members joined Grace Church. Grace Church received major renovations and remodeling in 1926. Of particular note is the large Moler pipe organ, extraordinary stained glass windows and its carillon.

Parish History - Clarke Parish: Wickliffe Church
Wickliffe Church
Parish History - Clarke Parish: Grace Church Tower
Grace Episcopal Church
St. Mary's Church - Clarke Parish
St. Mary’s Church

In the early 1900s, St. Mary’s Memorial Church was founded as a mission of the Diocese of Virginia and became part of Clarke Parish. The Church was consecrated in 1907. There are now two congregations making up Clarke Parish:  Grace Church and St. Mary’s Memorial Church, both of which are located in downtown Berryville and within eyesight of each other.  The mother church, Wickliffe, is maintained by the Trustees of Grace Church and a special worship service and picnic luncheon is held there annually on the second Sunday of August.  Grace and St. Mary’s have shared a minister, provided Sunday School jointly, and operated as Sister Churches since the 1960s.

Together, we are Clarke Parish!