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Briery Church 2
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Image by David V. Hoffman
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[There are 9 images in this set] Briery Presbyterian Church in Prince Edward County, Virginia, is just over the Charlotte County boundary line. It is a beautiful Carpenter Gothic church, built about 1855, designed by Robert Lewis Dabney (1820-1898). Dabney was a professor of theology at Union Theological Seminary (at that time part of Hampden-Sydney College) and the author of a biography of Stonewall Jackson, noted Confederate general in the Civil War. Dabney designed three other churches—College Church at Hampden-Sydney, Farmville Presbyterian Church and Tinkling Spring Church in Augusta County, Virginia, all in Greek Revival style rather than the Gothic Revival style of Briery. He also designed his home in Hampden-Sydney; “Westmerton” is an Italianate house dating from 1856, from the same time period as Briery Church. A set of three images is at www.flickr.com/photos/universalpops/sets/72157628611503173

Briery Church is a one-story frame board-and-batten structure with a very noticeable steep gable roof, emphasizing the verticality of lines. Built on a T-shaped plan, the front of the building has three cross gables, which create an impression of great length. The eaves are wide with simple bracketing. Each of the gables is topped with a turned finial. There are four entrances, two on the front (entrances for men and for women) and one at each side. There is no rear entrance. Each entrance is covered with a small canopy porch with barge boarding of simple curved strips of wood. Windows are 1/1 sash except for the fixed central window on the front façade; they have diamond panes. The foundation is masonry, probably brick covered with stucco. The deep swoop of the gables provides a dramatic look to this structure. I’ve not been inside but have been told it has a beautiful interior with pine ceiling. The first church on the site was about 1750 and replaced in 1824; this church replaced the latter building. Briery Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places November 29, 1969 with ID#69000371.

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Image by Lynn Friedman

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