Our Lady’s Chapel
A Brief History
Maryland colonial records provide clues that, in the early 1650s, an early Catholic Chapel was located on the south side of Breton Bay. However, by the 1660s, this “chaple” had been replaced by one on the north side of Breton Bay.
In 1765, George Hunter, the Jesuit superior in Maryland, bought two acres again on the south side of Breton Bay. An accounting of 1767 reveals “Our Ladys Chappell” to have been built by the previous owner- but not paid for by Mr. Hunter. (As priests could not build churches but buy land, it was a common remedy to buy land with a prebuilt church).
In about 1817, a new brick structure replaced the original structure. Major repairs to this structure were done in 1831. This church had its altar on the east end of the building.
In 1861, the land of Our Lady’s Chapel was expanded by 2.5 acres burial ground. In 1910, it became necessary to replace the old brick building and the structure was replaced by the current one. This time the altar was on the west end of the building. In 1914, an additional 2.65 acres was purchased at the rear of the church. This land was used as a graveyard extension and also contained a sexton’s house. In 1921, land was donated a short distance from the church for use as a parochial school. The school was closed in 1954 and the donated land sold.
Written by parishioner Peter Himmelheber in November 2009
Below is a research paper on the history of Our Lady’s Church at Medley’s Neck. The document was researched and written in July of 2007 by parishioner Peter Himmelheber. Click here to view and/or download the document. You will need Adobe Reader software to view and/or download the file since it is in pdf format. If you do not have the Adobe Reader, you can download if for free by clicking here. To save the document to your pc you can right-click on the link and us the “Save Target As” function.
Below are photos of parishioners who were memorialized in the beautiful stained glass windows in Our Lady’s Church at Medley’s Neck.