History

ChurchFrontAntique

In 1805 there was only one meeting house in North Hingham, the old North Meeting House, now known as Old Ship Church. Following the resignation of the incumbent minister, Rev. Dr. Henry Ware, to become professor of divinity at Harvard, a schism developed over the choice of a successor. In the end, the members and four deacons of the church, followed by a substantial minority of the residents of the North Parish, withdrew from the old meeting house.

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Church Front Drawing

The dissident group held its worship services in the old Derby Academy building on Main Street while work began on a “new North meeting house” at the foot of Lincoln Street. The frame of the new structure was completed on October 25, 1806, less than six months from the date of acceptance of the plans, and the finished sanctuary was dedicated on June 17, 1807. The design of New North has long been credited to Charles Bulfinch, architect of the State House in Boston and other memorable buildings of the era. Whether or not Bulfinch actually drew up the plans, the building’s classic style clearly shows his influence.

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Lincoln

One of the leading founders of the new church was Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, the lieutenant to George Washington who accepted Cornwallis’s sword for him at Yorktown. Gen. Lincoln was Hingham’s most illustrious resident of the time.

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Back>Front

The old-fashioned box pews downstairs in the church sanctuary are all originals and are the oldest pews in Hingham.

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GalleryView_edited-1

The uppermost galleries at the rear of the sanctuary were put in for the use of African-American servants and were long known as the “slave galleries,” despite the fact that use of the galleries was abandoned early in the 19th century when New North became a hotbed of abolitionism.

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Andrew4blus04b The first Republican governor of Massachusetts, John Albion Andrew, was a New North member. He famously created the first regiment of free black soldiers to serve the Union in the Civil War — the 54th Massachusetts, celebrated in the movie “Glory.”

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Long

Hingham’s only other Massachusetts Governor, John Davis Long, was also a New North member. He sat at the back near the door, perhaps because he loved “clustering in the vestibule” to chat with other New North members.

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ChurchFront_2

In the 1960’s, New North’s connection with the Unitarian Universalist Association was dissolved, and in 1970 New North reopened as a community church, drawing its membership from a wide range of denominational backgrounds.

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