Chapter 16: ecclesiastical History.
Christ Church.—A comprehensive and interesting ‘Historical Notice of Christ Church,’ is appended to a sermon by Rev. Nicholas Hoppin, D. D., on the reopening of the church, Nov. 22, 1857. This church was originally established as a missionary station by the ‘Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts,’ under the charge of Rev. East Apthorp, who was born in Boston, 1733, and educated at Cambridge, England. ‘The original subscription for building the church is dated at Boston, April 25, 1759. The petition to the society was signed by Henry Vassal, Joseph Lee, John Vassal, Ralph Inman, Thomas Oliver, David Phips, Robert Temple, James Apthorp. At a meeting held at Boston, September 29, 1759, the six first named gentlemen, with the Rev. East Apthorp, were chosen as the building committee; Ralph Inman, Esq., was appointed Treasurer.’1 These ‘six first named gentlemen’ resided in Cambridge, and were among the richest citizens, ‘each of whose income was judged to be adequate to the maintenance of a domestic chaplain.’2 The church edifice, which is still preserved in good condition, was erected on the southerly side of the common, between the old burial ground and Appian Way. ‘A piece of land, one hundred feet square, was bought of Mr. James Reed, for £ 16. 2s. 1 1/2 d., lawful money.’ . . . . ‘This with the same quantity bought of the Proprietors of the common and undivided lands of the Town of Cambridge and taken in from the Common, formed the church lot. The price paid to the Proprietors was £ 13. 6s. 8d. lawful money, the church also paying for the removal of the Pound. The line of the Common, which was originally curved, was thus straightened, the burying ground being also extended up to the church line.’3 At the meeting, Sept. 29, 1759, when the size and general plan of the edifice were  determined, it was voted, ‘That the expense of executing the whole building is not to exceed £ 500 sterling.’4 But although ‘the dimensions of the building proposed by the committee were adopted by the architect without change, the whole cost of the church, not including the land, was about £ 1300 sterling.’5 ‘The church was opened for the performance of divine service, Oct. 15, 1761.’ Rev. Mr. Apthorp again visited England in 1765, where he received the degree of Doctor of Divinity, and became successively Vicar of Croydon, Rector of St. Mary-le-Bow, London, and a Prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral. He died April 16, 1816, aged 83 years. The next Rector of Christ Church was Rev. Winwood Sarjeant, supposed to be a native of England, who was ordained Priest by Bishop Pearce, Dec. 19, 1756. He commenced his rectorship as a missionary in June, 1767, and continued to perform the duties of his office, until the commencement of the Revolutionary War, when he retired to Kingston, N. H., and afterwards to Newbury. In 1777 he had an attack of paralysis, and in 1778 went to England. He died at Bath, Sept. 20, 1780. ‘The congregation had almost entirely dispersed at the beginning of the war. Perhaps no church in the country was more completely broken up. Of all the persons who took part in its concerns, including the sixty-eight original subscribers for the building (several of whom, however, were of Boston), and twenty original purchasers of pews, not a name appears on the records after the Revolution but those of John Pigeon, Esq., and Judge Joseph Lee. The former espoused the patriotic side; the latter was a loyalist, but being a quiet man and moderate in his opinions, remained unmolested.’6 Divine service is said to have been had in the church a few times while the army remained in Cambridge. It was also occupied and much damaged by the soldiers, who were destitute of proper barracks. It ‘was left for many years in a melancholy and desecrated condition, the doors shattered and all the windows broken out, exposed to rain and storms and every sort of depredation, its beauty gone, its  sanctuary defiled, the wind howling through its deserted aisles and about its stained and decaying walls; the whole building being a disgrace instead of an ornament to the town. No effort appears to have been made for the renewal of divine worship till the beginning of the year 1790.’7 The edifice was then repaired, and an effort was made for the regular administration of religious services. Rev. Joseph Warren, Rev. William Montague, and others, officiated for short periods, but for nearly forty years the church was generally supplied with lay Readers, among whom were Theodore Dehon, afterwards Bishop of South Carolina, and Jonathan—Mayhew Wainwright,8 afterwards Bishop of New York. The church was thoroughly repaired in 1825, and was again ‘opened for service July 30th, 1826, when the Rev. George Otis, M. A., then tutor in the University, preached a sermon, afterwards printed.’9 Mr. Otis was chosen Rector, but declined the office, as it was supposed to be inconsistent—with his official engagements to the College; he ‘however continued to officiate for the church, and was virtually its minister, till his lamented and untimely death, at the age of thirty-two, February 25th, 1828.’10 Rev. Thomas W. Coit, D. D., was Rector from Easter, 1829, to Easter, 1835; Rev. M. A. D'W. Howe, D. D., for a few months in 1836 and 1837; and Rev. Thomas H. Vail from the spring of 1837 to Easter, 1839. Rev. Nicholas Hoppin, a native of Providence, R. I., and a graduate of Brown University, 1831, commenced his labors as Rector in November, 1839, and ministered to the church longer than all his predecessors in that office. During his rectorship the congregation so increased that it became necessary to enlarge the church edifice, and twenty-three feet were added to its length in 1857. A subscription had been commenced, in 1855, to procure a chime of bells for the church; the design was now prosecuted more vigorously and with such success that thirteen bells, at a cost of about five thousand dollars, were placed in the belfry of the church, and were first chimed on Easter morning, April 8, 1860. After a faithful and successful ministry for more than thirty-four years, Dr. Hoppin resigned the rectorship April 20, 1874. His degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred by Trinity College in 1859.  The present Rector, Rev. William-Chauncy Langdon, entered upon the discharge of his duties Jan. 2, 1876. The Wardens of Christ Church have been as follows:—
|1762,||David Phips,||John Vassall.|
|1763,||John Vassall,||Robert Temple.|
|1764-1765,||Robert Temple,||Richard Lechmere.|