Thursday, March 11, 2010

Historical Society announces addition of Newtown Manor to List of Endangered Places

The St. Mary’s County Historical Society's nomination of the Newtown Manor House for the Endangered Maryland program, a partnership between Preservation Maryland and Maryland Life Magazine, was accepted as one of eleven endangered sites in Maryland for its 2010 program. All the sites are featured in the March/April 2010 issue of Maryland Life. A selection committee of preservationists from throughout Maryland evaluated the nominations based on a list of seven criteria, including:

- historic significance of resource,
- urgency of the threat facing the resource,
- feasibility of solution and usefulness of the Endangered Maryland listing,
- level of community support;
- geographic diversity;
- diversity of resource type, and
- diversity of threat.

The Newtown Manor House is thought to have been erected in the mid-18th century. The major threat to the structure is its slow deterioration from a lack of continuing maintenance. It is part of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and Newtown Manor House Historic District in Compton. This mission is the oldest Catholic Church in English-speaking America. From this area of Newtown Neck and from other locations in Southern Maryland, English Jesuit priests conducted missionary activities among the Indians and ministered to the needs of the settlers beginning in the 1630s and 1640s. The St. Mary's County Historical Society felt that, by bringing attention and focus to this unique resource, progress could be made to preserve this wonderful historic building. The Historic District marks a location and site important in the 17th century ecclesiastical history of Maryland, as an example of a self-contained Jesuit community made self-supporting by a surrounding 700-acre farm. The Jesuit community recently sold that farm to the State of Maryland with the intent of developing a state park. In 1967, the Society of Jesus sold 7.5 acres to the Archdiocese of Washington, which included the old church and the House.

For more information, contact Susan Wolfe, Executive Director, St. Mary’s County Historical Society, by email at or by phone at 301-475-2467.
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