After leaving Granary Burial Ground our next stop is the King’s Chapel. 
King’s Chapel is a 1754 church designed by Peter Harrison and known for its Georgian interior. Do try to get a peek inside if you can. The box pews are interesting and unusual. 

In 1688, the Royal Governor built King’s Chapel on the town burying ground when no one in the city would sell him land to build a non-Puritan church. The first King’s Chapel was a tiny church used by the King’s men who occupied Boston to enforce British law. By 1749, the building was too small for the congregation, which had grown to include a number of prominent merchants and their families. The present stone structure was built around the original wooden church, which was then disassembled and thrown piece by piece out the windows of the new construction. The magnificent interior is considered the finest example of Georgian church architecture in North America.
The King’s Chapel bell, cast in England, was hung in 1772. In 1814 it cracked, was recast by Paul Revere, and was re-hung. It is the largest bell cast by the Revere Foundry, and the last one cast by Paul Revere himself. It has been rung at services ever since.

Inscription Reads:

King’s Chapel 1680
First Permanent Established Anglican Church in New England
First Unitarian Church in America
Oldest American Pulpit in Continuous Use on It’s Original Site

Interior of Chapel and the Red Box Pews

The box pews of King’s Chapel are the original pews. Each pew was owned by a family who paid fifty-four shillings a year (about $150 in today’s money) for the space. They were designed with high sides to protect worshippers from winter drafts in the days before central heating. Parishioners would sit close together with a foot warmer on the floor providing heat. Each pew reflected the size and make-up of the family, who would bring in their own pillows, fabrics, and furniture for their pew. Children often faced their parents, rather than the chancel, so that parents could watch both the service and their children. The pews in the galleries were available for those who could not afford the rent on the box pews downstairs. In 1906, the Church bought back the pews, which are now open to all. While the pews have required re-upholstering, the padding beneath is still made of horse hair.



This large pew in King’s Chapel was reserved for the Royal Governor, his family
and guests, as representatives of the King of England. President George Washington sat in this pew on his second visit to the Chapel for a benefit concert following the Revolution on October 27, 1789.




The pulpit was built in 1717 by French Huguenot Peter Vintoneau for
the first King’s Chapel building. It is the oldest pulpit in the United States still in use on its original site. More than 30,000 sermons have been preached
from it.




King’s Chapel was the first church in America to use an organ (bequeathed by a
local merchant in 1713). The present organ, seen here is the Chapel’s sixth and was made by C.B. Fisk. The organ case is a reproduction of the case built for the Bridge Organ made in London for King’s Chapel and installed in this building in 1756. The crown, miters and carvings are from the original case.



Located next to King’s Chapel, The King’s Chapel Burying Ground was Boston Proper’s only burying place for nearly 30 years. Older than the Granary Burying Ground, in fact, as old as Boston itself, King’s Chapel Burying Ground boasts such illustrious residents as John Winthrop, Massachusetts’ first Governor and Mary Chilton, the first woman to step off the Mayflower. William Dawes, the “other” rider who dispatched to Lexington and Concord with Paul Revere is also buried here.  This is Boston’s oldest burying ground, established in 1630 on what were then the outskirts of the new Puritan settlement.


Here were buried
Jacob Sheafe 1658, John Winslow 1674.
Mary Chilton 1679,
A passenger in the Mayflower
and wife of John Winslow.
Lady Andros 1688,
Captain Roger Clap 1690, Thomas Brattle 1713,
Professor John Winthrop 1776.
James Lloyd 1831, Charles Bulfinch 1844.

William Dawes Jr.
Patriot and Son of Liberty
April 6 1745 – February 25 1799.
This tablet placed by the city 1901.

Those buried here in the first thirty years were predominantly English-born immigrants who came to the “New World” seeking religious freedom and new economic opportunity. Today there are approximately 600 gravestones and 29 tabletop tombs left to mark the more than 1,000 people buried in this small space.





Elizabeth Pain  d.1704
This gravestone is the supposed inspiration for Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”.

Excerpts from the final paragraph in The Scarlet Letter states the

“And, after many, many years, a new grave was delved, near an old and sunken one,
in that burial ground beside which King’s Chapel has since been built. It was
near that old and sunken grave, yet with a space between, as if the dust of the
two sleepers had no right to mingle. Yet one tombstone served for both. All
around, there were monuments carved with armorial bearings; and on this simple
slab of slate—as the curious investigator may still discern, and perplex himself
with the purport—there appeared the semblance of an engraved escutcheon [a


One of the first and most famous gravestones, visible upon entering the burying ground, is that of Joseph Tapping (d. 1678). The marker is famed as a work of art conceived by the unnamed carver known as “the Charlestown Stonecutter.” The stone is one of the most elaborate in the burying ground with beautifully carved symbolic images: the skull with wings represents the soul leaving the body, the hourglass represents time running out, the skeleton snuffing out the candle is Death ending life, and the bearded figure is Time attempting to stop Death. The stone’s Latin inscriptions refer to the quick passage of time and awareness of death’s inevitability. Little is known of Tapping, a Boston shopkeeper who died at the age of 23, leaving his young wife Marianna a widow.



William Dawes rode an alternate route along with Paul Revere on the night of April 18th to warn Adams and Hancock that the British were coming. Revere was captured between Lexington and Concord, Dawes was not. However, Revere reached Lexington first to warn the two men and that might be why he is more famous.

Inscription on tomb:
Patriot, Son of Liberty ,and first messenger sent by Warren from Boston to Lexington on the night of April 18-19 1775 to warn Hancock and Adams of the coming of the British troops. Born April 6 1745  Died February 25 1799
Placed by the Massachusetts Society Sons of the Revolution April 19, 1899



Within this tomb are buried the following members of the Winthrop family.
John Winthrop (1588-1649) led a group of Puritans to the New World, joining the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1629. He was elected the first Puritan governor of his colony on April 8, 1630. Between 1631 and 1648 he was voted out of governorship and re-elected a total of 12 times


Mary Chilton arrived in Plymouth on the Mayflower in 1620, accompanying her mother and father James Chilton. Mary’s father died while the Mayflower was anchored in Provincetown Harbor. A Chilton family tradition, first recorded in 1744, has the 12-year-old Mary Chilton as the first woman ashore at Plymouth. There is no contemporary recording of the event, but there are also no competing claims. Mary Chilton married John Winslow, a passenger on the Fortune (arrival in 1621). John Winslow’s brothers Edward and Gilbert had been passengers on the Mayflower.


More unusual carvings: 


Death putting out the Candle of Life



Liberty is the proper end and object of authority, and cannot subsist without it;
 and it is liberty to that which is good, just, and honest.
— John Winthrop


@ Patty