Founded in 1686 as Boston’s first Anglican church, King’s Chapel is home to over 330 years of history. The 1754 granite building still stands on the church’s original site: the corner of Boston’s oldest English burying ground.
Visiting King's Chapel & King's Chapel Burying Ground
Church managed by King's Chapel and burying ground managed by the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department's Historic Burying Grounds Initiative
The Historic Burying Grounds Initiative manages sixteen burying grounds located throughout Boston and King's Chapel is an independent congregation affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association.
- Wheelchair Accessible
Featured Photo of Tour Site
King's Chapel interior
Dive into history at one of the oldest churches in Boston! Established in 1686 as the first Anglican church in New England, you can discover over 330 years of history at King’s Chapel. Exhibits and programs explore the roles of religion, tolerance, and justice in the birth of the nation.
The church houses the oldest American pulpit still in continuous use. The existing stone structure, designed by Rhode Island architect Peter Harrison, was completed in 1754 and built around the original wooden structure in order to continue holding worship during construction. The magnificent interior is considered the finest example of Georgian architecture in North America. The bell, forged in England in 1772, cracked in 1814. It was recast by Paul Revere in 1816 and still rings to this day to summon people to worship. During the American Revolution, loyalist members of King’s Chapel fled to Canada, and the church’s name was briefly changed to “Stone Chapel.” King’s Chapel became Unitarian in 1785 under the ministry of James Freeman, who revised the Book of Common Prayer to reflect the movement towards Unitarian ideology. Currently on its 9th edition, Freeman’s Book of Common prayer is still used at services today.
Notable King’s Chapel members include several Colonial Royal Governors, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., architect of the Massachusetts State House and U.S. Capitol Building Charles Bulfinch, and Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner. Famous Americans who visited the chapel include George Washington, Abigail Adams, and Paul Revere.
During your visit, explore the sanctuary, uncovering the stories of former church members as you sit in the original pews; investigate local history with one of our talented educators; and join us for a Bells & Bones tour to experience an 18th century crypt and bell tower.
King's Chapel Burying Ground
A fascinating historic cemetery, King's Chapel Burying Ground is located next to King’s Chapel on Tremont Street. King’s Chapel Burying Ground was Boston Proper’s first burying ground. It boasts a multitude of illustrious residents, including John Winthrop, Massachusetts’ first Governor, and Mary Chilton, the first woman to step off the Mayflower. According to custom, the first interment in King’s Chapel Burying Ground was that of the land’s original owner, Isaac Johnson.
Joseph Tapping’s stone in the front of the burying ground, where a skeleton and Father Time battle over the eventuality of death, may be Boston’s most beautiful headstone!
King's Chapel & King's Chapel Burying Ground Photos
King's Chapel at Night
King's Chapel Crypt
King's Chapel Pews
King's Chapel Burying Ground Headstone
Historic King's Chapel Burying Ground
Bells and Bones Tour