Chapel of the Holy Innocents
founded 1845, built 1845
This building is, architecturally, one of New Jersey’s more significant ones. The tracery in the east window is “an early example, and possibly the first, of the exact reproduction of an English medieval detail in an American church.” [Stanton, 48] It was copied from Stanton St. John, in Oxfordshire, England, and suggests that architect John Notman and Episcopal Bishop Doane were supplied with drawings of that church.
Holy Innocents is a small (81' long) chapel, built of uncoursed sandstone, now joined to the adjacent academic building but originally with a south entrance. From the north wall to the transept-like organ chamber there are external buttresses and single lancet windows; from the organ chamber of the south wall there are no buttresses and the windows are double lancets, which expresses the separation of the chancel from the general seating. Internally, the ceiling shows the arched open frame (non-structural) timbers that Notman also used in his design of St. Thomas’ church in Glassboro. In several other details the chapel represents a serious effort to build in the late medieval manner that has come to be called Gothic Revival.
St. Mary’s Hall was founded in 1837 as an academic, private Episcopal school for girls, who took the same subjects as boys, which was quite unusual for the period. It was owned outright by Doane, but sold to the Board of Trustees of St. Mary’s in 1854 (of which Doane was the leading member). In 1974 it merged with Doane Academy, a boys school operated by the Episcopal Church, and is now St. Mary’s Hall/Doane Academy.
The chapel is not mentioned in Woodward; the information here is based on data from HABS.