The Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul
Fondly known as the New Chapel, The Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul, built in 1886, is the figurative and literal center of life at St. Paul’s School. With its soaring tower and Gothic profile, the building is arguably the most recognizable on campus and a hub for spiritual life, social activity and more.
The original design and building was by Henry Vaughn, a pupil of the English church builder George Frederick Bodley, and represents one of the earliest church buildings in America in the Gothic style. The Chapel was consecrated on June 5, 1888, by Bishop Niles of New Hampshire and the tower, from Vaughn’s original design, was added in 1894 as a memorial to Mary Bowman Coit, wife of the first Rector, the Reverend Dr. Henry Augustus Coit. A recumbent funeral effigy of Dr. Coit was added to the sanctuary in 1898.
In 1928, the noted architect Ralph Adams Cram was charged with enlarging the Chapel to accommodate a growing school, and the building was cut in two, the altar sanctuary moved eastward, and two bays of windows added in the choir section. This same period saw the construction, also under the direction of Cram, of the north porch behind the pulpit, the chantry, and the War Memorial, which is focused around an important sculptural work by Daniel Chester French. The organ, originally built in 1930 as a memorial to James Carter Knox, organist and choirmaster from 1868 to 1928, was enlarged in 1953 by the Aeolian-Skinner Organ Company of Boston, adding an antiphonal organ and moving the console from the choir loft to the choir section of the chancel floor. In 1988, the Form of 1938 gave for its Fiftieth Anniversary Gift a new stained glass window to commemorate the centenary of the Chapel’s consecration. Designed and built by the renowned Hans-Gottfried von Stockhausen, the two main images of this window depict the conversion of St. Paul and the parable of the sower and the seed. In 2002 the infrastructure of the building underwent a significant restoration and refurbishment to preserve it for future generations.
With a capacity of approximately 780, the Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul is the site of Academic Convocation at the beginning of each term, School Chapel four mornings a week, Evensong and Last Night Service each term, a Festival of Lessons & Carols and the Pageant in the Advent/Christmas season, the Baccalaureate Service on Graduation Weekend and the Alumni Memorial Service at Anniversary. The Chapel also plays host to numerous interfaith services and events, other occasional services, musical and dramatic performances, and various School meetings. It is open to everyone each day for prayer, meditation, reflection and enjoyment.
The Chapel of St. Paul
The Chapel of St. Paul, known as the Old Chapel, dates back to 1858, and was the first building constructed at the School after St. Paul’s was established as the summer home of founder Dr. George Cheyne Shattuck in 1856. An English Gothic chapel, the original structure was designed by George Snell of Boston and enlarged in 1868 to accommodate a growing student body: the building was cut at the intersection of the choir and the nave, the nave moved 30 feet closer to Lower School Pond, and transepts added to each side.
After the consecration of the new Chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul in 1888, the Chapel of St. Paul served as the local parish for faculty families, staff and their families and residents of Millville — as well as a cherished location for baptisms, weddings, funerals and occasional School services. In the early 1970s the Old Chapel was reclaimed for the voluntary Sunday services of Holy Eucharist and midweek services of Vespers. In the mid-1980s, under the Rectorship of the Reverend Charles H. “Kelly” Clark and in cooperation with the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, the decoration and appointments of the Old Chapel were restored to their original nineteenth-century style. In 2002 the infrastructure of the building was similarly updated to preserve it for future generations. Today, the Old Chapel continues to serve as the site of the First Night Service for new students and faculty, the Last Night Service for graduating Sixth Formers, Form Chapel services, voluntary Sunday worship services, occasional midweek services, meditation groups, musical and dramatic performances, and various School meetings.