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5First Parish Meeting House

First Parish Meeting House was originally built in 1723 on what was known as the Rocky Plain. It was an unusable plot of land for agricultural purposes, covered with rocks and poor soil. The present structure was built in 1797 re-using material from the original, smaller structure.

The Meeting House design was purchased from Benjamin Thompson of Boston, and was built by journeymen builders. It has design elements borrowed from England’s famed architect Christopher Wren.

The steeple features a gold leaf weather vane, indicating the direction of the wind, above a shuttered (empty) watch tower. Below that is the belfry (bell chamber) which holds the circa 1825 bell. Below the belfry is the clock chamber containing an automatic mechanism to sound the hours with a clock face on three sides (the clock was installed in 1873). The clock has always been owned and maintained by the Town of Sudbury.

Even with the separation of church and state (in this town starting in 1836), the Town still had its meetings in First Parish until 1846, when it got around to building its own Town Hall.

The very large stone in front of First Parish near Hudson Road is the only remaining Posting Stone in the center. It served a person arriving on horseback, allowing them to dismount from a horse with decorum, especially for a woman riding side saddle. It also was used by parishioners arriving in early carriages or wagons that had no step on them.

The horse (carriage) sheds next to First Parish were built in 1799 by the Town. Originally, there were 22 stalls. Townspeople would drive their carriage into the shed, and tie their horse up to a ring on the beam on the back wall and safely leave their horse or carriage while they went to a service or a Town Meeting (the separation of church and state did not occur in Sudbury until 1836).

The first Town Hall (on the this side of the Sudbury river) was located next to the First Parish carriage sheds as shown below. First Town Hall burned down in 1930 and was replaced by the current Town Hall located across the road (opened in 1932).

First Parish Meeting House c1900