For four centuries, St. Peter’s Church has presided over the historic Town of St. George. Believed to be the oldest surviving Anglican church in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere, its humble and elegant interior has welcomed Bermudians since the island’s earliest settlers. Today, it is cherished as one of Bermuda’s most important landmarks. To mark its 400th anniversary, St. Peter’s has been re-designated by consent of Her Majesty The Queen as “Their Majesties Chappell” — the name it bore during the 1690s in honor of King William III and Queen Mary. The original church was built in 1612 from Bermuda cedar and palmetto thatch. It quickly fell victim to the island’s notoriously vicious tempests and was rebuilt and renovated over time. The present stone structure dates mostly from 1713, with the tower and wings added in the 19th century. The first Bermuda Parliament convened within its doors in 1620, inaugurating the third oldest parliament in the world. The new designation is a fitting tribute to a historical treasure. The church houses priceless artefacts, including a complete communion set made especially for the church in 1697 by King William and Queen Mary; a 1640 King James Bible and a 1594 Geneva Bible; the original altar, which was built in 1615 under the direction of Bermuda’s first governor, Richard Moore; and the original font, brought to Bermuda by the island’s first settlers, which is more than 500 years old. After 400 years, Their Majesties Chappell remains a Bermudian icon and a proud testament to the resilience and spirit of its people. St. Peter’s Church can be found on Duke of York Street. It is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (297-2459)
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