Cemetery notes and/or description: Lower Lunenburg Parish Church is a forgotten landmark that formerly graced the town of Warsaw in Richmond County, Virginia. Adjacent to U.S. Route 360, the church has been little more than a ring of tall oak trees covered in vines and hidden by dense brush for more than a century. Fragments of brick and the meandering surface of this hidden spot are the only indications that a grand church, built for the likes of Landon Carter and his fellow citizens, once stood in this quiet place. But far from being lost to history, the ruins of this church, in the ground and in documents, have much to tell us about 18th-century architecture, aspirations, and religious practices. In August 2005, archaeologists conducted an initial exploration of the church site. The goal of this project was to archaeologically evaluate and document the integrity and research potential of the Lower Lunenburg Parish Church, constructed circa 1732-37, and an elaborate stone tomb foundation that may have been associated with Landon Carter and his family. The Inscription stone of Elizabeth Wormeley Carter (1713-1740), first wife of Landon Carter was moved to Sabine Hall in the latter part of the 20th century.
Tradition holds that Landon Carter and his second wife are also buried at Lower Lunenburg.
While we did not locate evidence of additional elaborate tombs, it is likely that they exist beneath the rubble near the grave of Elizabeth Carter, or perhaps in the east chancel of the church. Bishop Meade includes a detailed passage about Lower Lunenburg church in his seminal 1857 work on the churches and ministers of Virginia. In his book, Meade reprints a letter from an unspecified acquaintance recounting the location of the church near the road and courthouse and surrounded by a collapsing brick wall and stately shade trees. The account continues: "Like most of the old churches in Virginia, it was built of brick, finished in the best manner, and cruciform in shape; the pulpit was very elevated, and placed on the south side at an angle near the centre of the building. The aisles were floored with large stones, square and smoothly dressed, and the pews with planks….. The church was claimed by an individual, when in ruins, and the materials from time to time removed and used for various domestic purposes." (Meade 1966:2:179-180)
According to Meade, Lower Lunenburg church was constructed around 1737, and was standing until about 1813, when its roof collapsed and the bricks began to be salvaged (Meade 1966:2:180).