Photograph of Old church from 1700’s in upstate NY
When Bedford was bought from the Native Americans in 1680, the Church of England had only one settled clergyman in all the Northern Colonies – the chaplain to the garrison of New York City. Bedford, like nearly all the early New England settlements, was Puritan, and the original twenty-four settlers had moved inland from the coastal town of Stamford.
It wasn’t until 1704 that Bedford residents banded together to organize what would later become the parish of St. Matthew’s. Services in Bedford were held at a meeting house or parishioners would travel to Mount Kisco for worship. Missionaries serving the community were industrious but often short-lived, and in the years between the founding of the Bedford Church and the American Revolution, thirteen clergy had come and gone.
In 1759, Mr. St. George Talbot made a bequest of six hundred pounds “for the use of promoting true religion in North Castle and Bedford.”
Construction of what was originally known as “The Brick Church” was begun in 1807 and completed in 1809. On October 17, 1810, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church was officially consecrated.