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Nomini Church

Historians believe that the original Nomini Church was built around 1648 on the West Bank of Nomini Creek across from the present church. Its original parishioners were prominent persons who were fugitives from civil war in Maryland and took up large tracts along the Potomac west of Nomini Creek. In 1703, Youell Watkins (a/k/a Watts) gave the parish one acre of land where the present church stands. The original Church was built of wood and construction costs were paid from taxes levied on "tithables" in the parish as a whole. By 1751, the vestry decided to rebuild the church in brick. After the American Revolution the old Anglican churches were largely abandoned and Nomini would have been in the same state of disuse as Yeocomico after 1790. A widely accepted story is that the scurrilous British burned the church during a raid on
Nomini Creek on July 20, 1814.  Bishop Meade made reference to the event in the 1830s and there is even a highway marker that mentions it. Its alleged occurrence is Nomini Church’s greatest claim to fame. There is absolutely no primary evidence, nor are there witnesses that state the British burned or destroyed the building, nor Royal Navy records to that effect. A study by Longwood University of the burning of the church went into detail about the question of its destruction and it casts doubt on the established story. The overlooked issue is that the church was probably already in ruins or close thereto by the time that British Admiral Cockburn was in the area.  
While a 1914 fire destroyed the parish records, a fragment of Vestry Minutes from 1849-1858 has survived. These detail the building of the present church.  In keeping with the Low Church environment of the early Victorian period, the altar was on the west, not on the east side of the building as is traditional in Anglican and Catholic churches. The minutes say that the interior was turned around in 1850 and a balcony removed.  Other than various modernizations, attempts to combat moisture in the walls, and the recentrepair of tornado damage, the building is relatively unchanged.

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