The Building

The Church That Mudge Built

Col_ER_MudgeDuring the 1870s, the family of industrialist Enoch Redington Mudge joined other wealthy Bostonians in establishing summer homes in Lynn. Grieving the loss of his son, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Redington Mudge, of the Massachusetts Second, who died at the Battle of Gettysburg, Mudge sought an appropriate memorial. At the insistence of his daughter, Fanny Olive (Mudge) Van Brunt, he decided to build a church for St. Stephen’s in memory of Charles. As plans emerged for the new church, Fanny Olive herself died leaving Enoch and Caroline Mudge deeply saddened. Mudge spared no expense building the church as a memorial to both of his children. Breaking ground in 1880, the cornerstone was laid in May 1881. The architectural firm of Ware and Van Brunt designed St. Stephen’s in the Gothic-Romanesque style, in the shape of a Latin cross facing East, using granite quarried from Mudge’s own estate. Tiffany Studios crafted the stained glass windows. Interior walls feature dressed freestone from Nova Scotia. The bell tower, which now houses 10 bells, stands at 130 feet. The height of the nave is 49 feet and its width is 68 feet. The length of the aisle to the apse wall is 90 feet. On October 1, 1881, E. R. Mudge died not seeing the church completed. His funeral was the first service held in the new worship space. On November 2, 1881, Bishop Huntington consecrated St. Stephen’s Church. On January 9, 1882, Caroline Mudge also died. All four Mudges are buried in the cloister garth here at St. Stephen’s.

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