History of Kings Oaks Chapel

chapel entrance interior

The records of the Bucks County Historical Society and the Recorder of Deeds reveal that the chapel on Kings Oaks farm was originally a barn over three hundred years ago on the parcel of land that is now Kings Oaks.

In 1918, the Reverend Samuel B. Booth, a former Red Cross Chaplain, purchased the farm in order to escape the influenza epidemic in Philadelphia and to return to the soil. Initially he conducted services in the living room of the house. Later he engaged the architectural services of Ralph Adams Cram (Master Architect, Princeton University) to transform the barn into a chapel. It was named the church of the Holy Nativity. The farm and chapel became a retreat for divinity students and visiting clergy.

Reverend Booth was elected Bishop of Vermont and the family moved in 1925. The Chapel continued to be used until 1936. It was a mission chapel meaning it provided services for local people, not necessarily Episcopalians, who could not get to Newtown’s church.  It closed shortly after Rev. James Gilbert (Officiate 1931 – 1936) resigned from giving the 4 PM services at the little chapel. The Newtown Episcopal Priest took over, but the locals found him too strictly Episcopalian. They then had cars and were able to drive to other churches of their choice.

There is a hatch in the floor, which opens to a tunnel. This could have been a station in the Underground Railroad.

The Chapel has been used as recently as 1965 for the “Blessing of the Hounds” before a foxhunt.  Present owners of the farm, Neil and Dana Cohen, were married here in 1972 and son David and his wife Lisa were married here in 2002.  Many friends have also been drawn to the chapel to celebrate their marriages in this simple and peaceful place.