Project Canterbury

Sketches of Church Life in Colonial Connecticut
Being the Story of the Transplanting of the Church of England into Forty Two Parishes of Connecticut,
with the Assistance of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel

Written by Members of the Parishes in Celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the Society

Edited by Lucy Cushing Jarvis

New Haven, Connecticut: The Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor Company, 1902.

St. James's, Danbury

THE early history of this parish, gathered from various sources, is substantially as follows. In 1727 the Rev. Henry Caner, a graduate of Yale, went to England for Holy Orders, and on his return in the autumn of that year, became a missionary to Fairfield. He sought out the Churchmen in the adjacent regions, and in his first report to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, in the year 1728, he mentions a village to the northwest of Fairfield, about 18 miles, containing 20 families. This is Chestnut (now Redding) Ridge. He also mentions Ridgefield and Danbury, and visited these places where he found ten or fifteen families professing the doctrines of the Church of England.

About 1763 the first church building was erected in Danbury and on its partial completion was opened by the Rev. Ebenezer Dibblee, a native of Danbury, and a missionary to Stamford and Greenwich. Occasional services were held here by the Rev. Mr. Leaming and the Rev. Mr. Beach of Newtown. In 1769 the missionary at Newtown speaks of the new church at Danbury as "with a decent steeple, and large enough to accommodate 400 to 500 people." This "decent steeple" was given by John McLean, a notable citizen of Danbury. In 1777, at the burning of Danbury, General Tryon and his troops took the military stores from the church and burned them, but saved the sacred edifice. In 1797 the Rev. David Perry of Ridgefield resigned the pastoral charge of Ridgefield, Redding, and Danbury. The Rev. David Butler succeeded him and the Rev. Elijah G. Plum was rector from 1808 to 1812. On October 6th, 1802, the church was consecrated by Bishop Jarvis. This building was occupied until 1844, when it was abandoned and a new building erected on the site of the present fine stone church.

Project Canterbury