Acquinton Church Renovation:
Remarkable things that enrich our lives and community are made to happen from time to time, and they remind us of the giving spirit that lives within some of us. Such is the case with the Walker family’s restoration of our historic Acquinton Church. Reconstructed from the ruins of four walls and a complete landscape transformation, the old church site is once again read to serve as a testament to faith and giving. The King William County Historical Society acquired the church property in 1998 with the intent of stabilizing the ruins and to establish the site as part of a historic district.
The Historical Society received a letter from one of its lifemembers, Mr. Carroll Lee Walker in June of 2008, expressing his family’s personal interest in the stabilization of the church site. Thrilled by this opportunity, the society gave Mr. Walker the go-ahead to begin the process. By October of 2008 the heavily wooded and overgrown church yard was completely transformed into a wonderful place with a seeded lawn and reclaimed cemetery. The many trees and vines, having grown there for years since the collapse of the roof in the 1940’s, were removed from the interior of the church. Mr. Walker’s team of landscape artists led by Joe Johnson and Eugene Washington made these grounds to look as beautiful as any churchyard in the county. They also installed a concrete floor inside the building after clearing out the vegetation.
The next hurdle for the project was the re-location of overhead power lines. Rappahannock Electric Co-op buried the new lines along the roadway.
Mr. Terry Lindsey served as the lead construction supervisor for the project and it was his guidance that moved the idea of stabilization to a concept of restoration.
The old bricks which were needed to shore up and fill in the existing walls were donated by Darrell Kellum. They came from the ruins of Marlmont, a home built by Mr. Horace Waring in 1820 at Rumford. The brick mason team led by Mr.Charles Harris, went to the Marlmont site, removed the bricks from the ruins of the walls, English basement, and chimney, and cleaned each of more than 7,500 of them by hand. Additional bricks were donated by Mr. Sewell Simpson. They were from the ruins of the old glebe adjacent to Acquinton church. The size of the brick from these two sites matched those of the existing walls of the church.
Since there was an ample supply of brick to rebuild the walls, the structural engineer, Mike Koelzer, of Koelzer and Associates, revised earlier plans to use metal trusses to support a roof structure. He approved the use of the reinforced brick walls to support the roof structure.
With the completion of the walls and the concrete cap along the top, by April of this year the carpentry phase was begun. Robert Lampkin and Scott Longest performed the carpentry work in setting the trusses, the roof and the window framing. A beautiful wood ceiling was installed as well. Painting was done by Fred Robinson and Charles Alexander.
Construction was completed the first week of August and a roadway sign commemorating the church and its reconstruction is being manufactured and should be installed before January of 2011. Plans are also being made to have the churchyard mapped using ground penetration radar to locate unmarked graves and buried structural features. The church will be used for community and private events and will be maintained by the King William County Historical Society.
There will be a public renovation celebration at Acquinton Church on Saturday, October 30th at 3pm. It is located at the intersection of routes 619 and 629 on Aquinton Church Rd. in King William county. Handicap and limited parking will be at the church, with other parking provided by Rehoboth Baptist Church across from Acquinton. Among those invited are our county supervisors and department heads, our state delegate Chris Peace, Bishop Reverend Gordon Charlton, Reverend George Henley and others. The public is encouraged to come, learn and to celebrate this remarkable gift provided to our community by the Walker family.