The Brick Church on Well's Hill, now known as Old Blandford Church of Bristol Parish, was erected in 1735. Rich in Colonial, Revolutionary, War of 1812, and Confederate history, this old church was abandoned after the building of another Episcopal church in Petersburg, when the Town of Blandford had been absorbed by Petersburg. Necessary repairs for its preservation were made by the City of Petersburg in 1882.
In 1901 the city delegated to the Ladies Memorial Association of Petersburg the privilege of developing this church into a Memorial Chapel and a Confederate shrine in memory of the 30,000 heroes buried in its shadow.
The Confederate States honored their soldiers by placing in the church memorial windows, designed and executed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. There are fifteen of these windows, making this shrine one of the art treasures of our country. Memorial services were held here for George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson at their deaths.
Memorial services are held here in the church every year on the ninth of June to honor the "Old Men and Young Boys," who distinguished themselves in a battle with an overwhelming force of Federal troops on June ninth 1864.
Here was fought the "Battle of Petersburg" in 1781. Lord Cornwallis and British Generals O'hara and Phillips met in Petersburg and decided on the strategy that led the British Army to Yorktown and defeat. General Phillips became ill while in Petersburg and passed away. He was secretly buried somewhere in the churchyard. (See Link below).
Here rest the heroes of the "War of 1812" who won for Petersburg its title the "Cockade City of the Union."
The "Cross of Jewels" was a gift from Mr. Tiffany and is above the west door. It bears the inscription: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will to men. As the sun sinks behind these sparkling jewels, their colors change with the glowing sun, and it is truly a thing of beauty.
During the period when the church was abandoned, with no windows, doors, or floor, and its side and roof covered with ivy, there was found written on the old white washed wall a poem that was simply signed "A Stranger". To view these wonderful words click on the link below.
There are many stories to be told about Blandford Church and Cemetery. Below you will find links to some of them.
The Confederate flag as shown in the Ladies Memorial window above is believed to be the only stained glass Confederate flag ever made by the Tiffany Company.