Christ Church on Church Hill

Christ Church, standing on a hill in rural Jefferson County, Mississippi, is considered the “purest expression of Gothic Revival architecture in antebellum Mississippi.” 

Architecturally, it is modeled after the old country church buildings that were once popular in England.

Designed by Natchez architect J. Edward Smith, the church was built of brick, stuccoed and scored to imitate ashlar masonry. Christ Church is the “cradle of Episcopacy in Mississippi” as the congregation built the first Christ Church on Church Hill around 1820. The current Christ Church is the third Christ Church on Church Hill.

On June 13, 1858, the church was consecrated by William Mercer Green, bishop of Mississippi, who wrote: “On approaching the site of the old Church, I was pleased to find in its stead a structure not only more commodius and Church-like, but most tasteful in style, and becoming in all adornment”.

In 1864, the church was occupied by Union forces, and a notation in existing church records relates that services were “interrupted by the Civil War which desolated our country and desecrated its churches. …”

In 1867, the Mississippi diocesan Journal reported that the parish, “once wealthy and flourishing,” had been without the services of a rector for three years, he being “absent on duty as Chaplain in the Army,” and in 1870 Christ Church was still “suffering . . . for want of a rector”.

The church is now a mission station and services are no longer held here but it remains one of the most visited and documented churches in the state of Mississippi

Photo: Shannon Ballard

The Church Hill Fork includes a few homes, Christ Church and a now closed historic country store known as Wagner’s Grocery. There are many historic homes along what’s known as the Church Hill Loop on the Natchez Trace.

You can map out your road trip here

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