After St. James Anglican Church left Brunswick Town in favor of the rival port of Wilmington, the Anglican parish of St. Philip formed in 1741. In 1754 it began building a brick church at Brunswick, the seat of royal government in the colony. After struggling with finances and a destructive hurricane, the church was finally completed in 1768, only to be burned by the British in 1776 (the colony's first armed resistance to the Stamp Act occurred nearby at the royal governor's residence in 1766). Today, all that remains of St. Philip's Church, the only Colonial church in southeastern North Carolina, is a rectangular shell — 24-foot-high walls, 3 feet thick — plus several Colonial-era graves (some of which are resurfacing with time). The ruin's round-arched window ports are intact and suggest Georgian detailing, but little solid evidence exists about the building's original appearance beyond some glazing on the brick. Three entrances exist, in the west, north and south walls, and three, triptych-style windows open the east wall. Services are still held held periodically within the ruins. The body of Royal Governor Arthur Dobbs is interred at St. Philip's, as is that of the infant son of Royal Governor William Tryon, although their graves have not been positively located. St. Philip's Episcopal Church in Southport was named after the Colonial parish to perpetuate its memory.
Fill out the form below to send your comment or question to St. Philip's Parish!