First Parish Church Congregational, Dover, New Hampshire


Founded in 1633, First Parish Church is the oldest congregation in the state of New Hampshire. The church’s fifth home, is a Federal style brick structure, with steeple modeled after that of The First Religious Society of Newburyport, Massachusetts, was designed and built by Captain James Davis in 1829. The interior has undergone extensive changes since the building’s construction, the first in 1878 when the organ was moved to the front of the sanctuary, the box-style pews were removed, and the current arced slip pews were installed. In 1945, the side galleries were removed, a colonial-style chancel area built, and the pews and walls painted white. The exterior has undergone few changes since its construction. Donald Bryant, the author of The History of the First Parish Church, wrote that with all of the significant changes to the city of Dover since the church’s founding, “no buildings and no institutions [remain] except the First Parish Church. In the fabric of Dover’s history it continues as the single living thread that runs from the beginning to the present and will run unbroken into the future.”

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