Thursday, October 1, 2015

1 October 1724 A.D. Richard Mansfield Born—Colonial Anglican & Royalist in Connecticut; he opted out of CT Congregationalism while studying at Yale

1 October 1724 A.D.  Richard Mansfield Born—Colonial Anglican & Royalist in Connecticut;  he opted out of CT Congregationalism while studying at Yale

No author.  “The Rev. Richard Mansfield House (1700).”  Historical Buildings of Connecticut.  8 Dec 2008.  Accessed 26 May 2014.
The Rev. Richard Mansfield House (1700)

This week we’ll be looking at some historic buildings in the Lower Naugatuck River Valley towns of Derby and Ansonia. Reverend Richard Mansfield was the first clergyman of the Church of England to reside in Derby. Although his father was a deacon in the Congregational Church, Mansfield had converted to Anglicanism after studying at Yale and was ordained by the Archbishop of Canterbury himself in England. Assigned to Derby in 1748, Rev. Mansfield would serve for 72 years, the longest recorded rectorship in the United States. In Derby, Rev. Mansfield lived in a saltbox house on what is today Jewett Street in Ansonia (which later separated from Derby). The house had been built around 1700 and was purchased the Episcopal Church in 1748 as a home for its rector, thus becoming an Episcopal Glebe House Rectory. His tenure was not without serious difficulties, however, because during the Revolutionary War, the loyalist Rev. Mansfield was forced to flee to Long Island. Although he returned to his old rectorship after the war, his wife Anna and infant daughter had died during his absence. During Rev. Mansfield’s tenure in Derby, the Episcopal Church had two successive buildings. The first church was erected on Elm Street (in what is now Ansonia) in 1737.

Itinerant Anglican priests had preached there until Rev. Mansfield arrived in 1748. A new church was completed on Derby Avenue in 1799, where Rev. Mansfield served until his death in 1820. He is buried in the Episcopal cemetery on Elm Street, his monument marking where the first Episcopal church’s alter had been when it stood at that location. In 1926, the Mansfield House was moved across Jewett Street to make way for St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church and School. Preserved by the Mansfield House Association, the building was given to the Antiquarian and Landmarks Society. Later, in 1960, the A&L gave the house to the Derby Historical Society.

Update: Last year the house acquired a new owner, who has posted about the house on his blog. Here’s a great article about the restoration of the house. Another post is about the south garret, while others discuss the history of the house, a Bible once owned by Rev. Richard Mansfield and thermal imaging,

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