Virginia History Series
Historical Hall of Fame: Bishop William Meade (1789-1862) was a prolific writer, his masterpiece being "Old Churches, Ministers and Families in Virginia," which required extensive research and has been regarded as the standard authority for Virginia church history
During his tenure at Cunningham Chapel Parish (1811-1835), William Meade served as lay-reader, deacon, priest and bishop.
Bishop Meade secured his early training at home and attended an excellent school in Clarke County (then Frederick). At age seventeen, he entered Princeton and two years later graduated with honors and was Valedictorian of his class. Upon leaving Princeton he studied theology under Reverend Walter Addison in Maryland. Shortly thereafter he returned to Clarke County due to poor health where his mother set apart a small farm from her acreage, on which he built a house which later became "Mountain View."
In February of 1811, he was examined by Bishop Madison and Dr. Bracken and was ordained deacon the same day in the old Bruton Church in Williamsburg and subsequently served under the Rev. Dr. Balmaine who placed him in charge of the services held at Old Chapel where he had assisted with services as a lay-reader prior to advancing to the priesthood two years later.
An indefatigable worker, as deacon he served in seven parishes. He commenced his ministry at Christ Church where he served as pastor for more than 30 years, which he interspersed with his duties as priest in and out of the Diocese, and as bishop, traversing from the Chesapeake to the Ohio River and from the Potomac to North Carolina, often assisting in the Carolina Diocese. He became the 3rd Bishop of Virginia.