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Brickwork

The brickwork at Christ Church was some of the finest produced in colonial Virginia. The exterior walls are laid in Flemish bond, where each course of brick has alternating stretchers and headers with the headers centered between the stretchers directly above and below them. Glazed headers are placed randomly throughout the exterior walls. The interior walls are laid in English bond, where courses of stretcher bricks alternate with courses of header bricks.

Gauged and rubbed bricks frame the doors and windows, and rubbed bricks mark the corners of the building down to the watertable. The foundation extends some five feet down. It is a spread footing that is about six feet thick across the bottom. Above grade the walls are three feet thick.

The bricks were fired in kilns Robert Carter set up south of the churchyard in the mid 1720s. It is estimated there are about 500,000 bricks in Christ Church.

View of brickwork in south doorway
Christ Church's exterior walls are laid in Flemish bond with random glazed headers. Fine rubbed and gauged brickwork sets off the doors and windows, both compass-head and ox-eye, the latter seen here. Notice how the brick entablature below the pediment over the door matches the wood entablature at the top of the photo.

The many similarities between Christ Church's brickwork and that at Rosewell in Gloucester County suggest the same masons may have worked on both buildings. Mann Page, who began Rosewell around 1726, had married Robert Carter's daughter Judith in 1718. Carter was a frequent visitor to Rosewell and no doubt discussed elements of house building with Page. Moreover, Carter's letters as well as those of his sons show family members often employed each other's craftsmen in their building campaigns.


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