Little England Chapel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Little England Chapel
Little England Chapel is located in Virginia
Little England Chapel
Little England Chapel is located in the United States
Little England Chapel
Location4100 Kecoughtan Rd., Hampton, Virginia
Coordinates37°0′47″N 76°21′11″W / 37.01306°N 76.35306°W / 37.01306; -76.35306Coordinates: 37°0′47″N 76°21′11″W / 37.01306°N 76.35306°W / 37.01306; -76.35306
AreaNetown Community
ArchitectHampton Institute Students
NRHP reference #82004564
VLR #114-0040
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJuly 08, 1982[2]
Designated VLRJune 16, 1981[1]

Little England Chapel (originally called The Ocean Cottage Sunday School) was founded by George C. Rowe. Mr. Rowe, a printer at Hampton Institute, began the Sunday School with three Newtown children, in a small section of his home.[3] The Sunday School became so popular that they needed more space to hold the Bible sessions.[4][5]


In 1869, Daniel F. Cock set aside a triangular plot of thirty-five acres divided into thirty-three lots to be sold to black persons. This area was named "Cock's Newtown. In March 1870, the first six lots were sold at fifty dollars each. The last was sold in 1910. During this same period, blacks also purchased lots of comparable size at the same price from Charles Smith, Edward Whitehouse, and William N. Armstrong, brother of Samuel Armstrong, Principal of Hampton Institute.[2] These lots were close to "Cock's Newtown" or close to the area where the Little England Chapel now stands. Subsequently, "Newtown" was applied to the entire black community.[2][5]

In 1878, a large open arbor was built with ten rows of seating for academic and Sunday School classes on the property of Daniel Cock. The number of attendees grew to over 500 – too many to be accommodated in the open arbor.[2] During that same summer Mr. Rowe met with William N. Armstrong, who offered the use of a small piece of land along Ivy Home Road, if the residents in the neighborhood would contribute toward the support of a day school teacher. The money was raised and the chapel opened in 1879. Students from Hampton Institute not only designed but built the school house. The work was overseen by William Armstrong.[4][5]

By 1886, the chapel had become self-supporting and had grown from three to seventy children. The children of the chapel participated in missionary work for the community. As late as 1910, students from the institute rowed across the Hampton River to teach classes.[4] In later years, they would travel by horse and buggy and the "School Chariot", a black shiny carriage drawn by two white horses. The students would serve as missionaries of the chapel for over fifty years.[4][5]


  1. ^ "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Final Nomination" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. 1982. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  3. ^ "Little England Chapel-originally known as the Ocean Cottage Sunday School-built about 1879". Historic Hampton Roads, Inc. 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  4. ^ a b c d "Our History". Little England Chapel Foundation. 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  5. ^ a b c d Shull, Carol D.; Savage, Beth L. (1994). African American historic places. Washington, D.C: Preservation Press. p. 503. ISBN 0-471-14345-6.

External links[edit]