Virginia Historic Churches-Wakefield Chapel in Annandale Virginia

Wakefield ChapelTucked away in the Fairfax County on Toll House Road in Annandale sits Wakefield Chapel built in 1899 by Oliver Besley, a local sawmill owner on land he donated to build a church.  The original deed for Wakefield Chapel drawn up by Oliver Besley stated that the church was only to be used for Methodist services two Sundays a month and the rest of the time it was to by any other denominations on other days.

The chapel is actually named for the first methodist minister who led services there Elhanan Wakefield.  Wakefield had a significant part of history in Fairfax County during the civil war.  He was responsible for burning down another church in “The Annandale Church” (not Wakefield Chapel) in 1864 under General Mosby and was so seriously wounded at the battle near Tom’s Brook VA that he was almost buried alive.  Two men who were preparing his grave noticed that he was still breathing and his wounds were so serious that when he was sufficiently recovered he was released from the service.
Wakefield returned to Annandale and began the work of rebuilding the church he had been ordered to burn down.  He would use his skills as a carpenter to earn a living and with his interest in religion he would eventually become the first Sunday School Superintendent of the Annandale Church and be ordained as a Methodist minister.  When the Besley’s bought the property to build their church just down the road from the Annandale Church, Wakefield would become one of the founders of the church and occasionally serve as the minister. 


Surprising during all this time he was still suffering from the wounds he received in the 1864 battle and in 1903 it was discovered that he still had two rifle shots in his shoulder.  Wakefield stayed in Fairfax County until his death in 1920.

Wakefield Chapel is owned by the Fairfax County Park Authority and is available to rent for weddings.  It is a just another small piece of history that you will find tucked away in Fairfax County.

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©2008.  All rights reserved.  Cindy Jones
All original photos taken January 2008


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Comment balloon 6 commentsCindy Jones • January 23 2008 03:31PM


Cindy, thank you so much for another wonderful local history lesson!
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Cindy, What a stately Country Church. I love a photo of a white church against a clear blue sky. Do they have many weddings there?
Posted by Ginger Sala, Wilmington NC Real Estate & Relocation~ (Wilkinson & Associates, Wilmington NC) over 11 years ago
Patricia-your welcome!  I've learned a few things myself doing this tour of historic churches in the area.
Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 11 years ago
Ginger & Roger-Yes it can be rented for small weddings.  It can hold up to 90 people.  I've been to two there.
Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 11 years ago


What a fascinating story...imagine that! Wakefield certainly was an amazing man...to go back and rebuild the church that he had taken part in destroying and to do this while suffering from terrible wounds..WoW,

Thanks for sharing this intriguing story. It certainly is a beautiful chapel.


Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 11 years ago
Jo-Anne-Wakefield is one of the many amazing people of his time.  The entire area is scattered with stories of lesser known hero's that came back to the area after the civil war and left behind some interesting churches, homes and other historic buildings.
Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 11 years ago

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