Meetinghouse under the Ledge

The Meetinghouse under the Ledge, also known as the Old Ledge Meetinghouse,[1] was a church that stood in present-day Yarmouth, Maine, between 1729 (when the town was North Yarmouth, Province of Massachusetts Bay) and 1836 (sixteen years after Maine's admittance to the Union). It was the ninth church founded in Maine.[2]

Meetinghouse under the Ledge
Old Ledge Meetinghouse
Meetinghouse under the Ledge.jpg
A "fanciful" painting depicting how the church looked. This view is facing northwest, with the ledge in background
43°47′08″N 70°10′31″W / 43.7855°N 70.1753°W / 43.7855; -70.1753Coordinates: 43°47′08″N 70°10′31″W / 43.7855°N 70.1753°W / 43.7855; -70.1753
LocationToday's Lafayette Street, Yarmouth, Maine
FoundedNovember 18, 1730
Years built1729
Demolished1836 (187 years ago) (1836)

Named for the ledge that rises to the west of its former location, only the church's eastern doorstep remains, beside today's Garrison Lane.


The congregation was founded in November 1730, and its first minister was Reverend Ammi Ruhamah Cutter.[3] Some members of the congregation had to travel several miles to attend sermons, some arriving by boat from today's Harpswell.[4] They were armed with muskets, wary of hostile Indians.[1]

The church was enlarged and had a steeple and a copper banner weathervane added in 1762.[5]

The congregation moved twice after abandoning this church in 1820, and today meets at the First Parish Congregational Church on Main Street in Yarmouth, about 1 mile (1.6 km) north of this location.[6]

In 1836, sixteen years after the meetinghouse was abandoned, it was torn down. The weathervane was rescued during the demolition work.[5] In 1838, it was mounted as a shipping guide on an iron rod atop the ledge, overlooking the meetinghouse, by a group of Yarmouth residents. They had raised funds to buy the weathervane from Solomon Winslow, who had removed it from the demolition site. The weathervane is now on display at the Yarmouth History Center, but its old supports still exist high up in the woods on the western side of Lafayette Street. They are passed by the West Side Trail.[7]


The garrison-style house (now known as the Cutter House) at 60 Gilman Road, built circa 1730, is the oldest standing house in Yarmouth. It was the parsonage of the Ledge Church's first minister, Reverend Ammi Ruhamah Cutter.[8] (Cutter was succeeded in the role by Nicholas Loring, who is buried in the Ledge Cemetery.) Perez B. Loring lived there in the mid-19th century.


Two cemeteries are located nearby. Across Gilman Road from the former parsonage is the small, half-acre 1731 Pioneer Cemetery (also known as the Indian Fighters cemetery), which was the first public burial place in Old North Yarmouth. At the corner of Gilman Road and Lafayette Street is the 2.5-acre 1770 Ledge Cemetery. (Some headstones bear dates earlier than 1770, for many bodies were removed from the older cemetery.)[9]

Tristram Gilman, for whom Gilman Road is named, was the fourth pastor at the meetinghouse, after the controversial Edward Brooks. He served in the role for forty years, and was buried in the Ledge Cemetery upon his death in 1809, aged 73. His wife, Elizabeth Sayer, is buried beside him.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Old Ledge Church in Yarmouth"Congregational Library & Archives
  2. ^ "North Yarmouth, Maine. First Church"Congregational Library & Archives
  3. ^ a b Yarmouth Revisited, Amy Aldredge
  4. ^ "Our Shared History" – Cumberland & North Yarmouth: A Neighboring History of Two Towns
  5. ^ a b Weathervanes of New England, Glenn A. Knoblock, David W. Wemmer (2018), p. 186 ISBN 9781476664569
  6. ^ Images of America: Yarmouth, Alan M. Hall (Arcadia, 2002), p.19
  7. ^ "About the Weathervane" - Yarmouth Historical Society's website
  8. ^ "Yarmouth Historic Context Statement" – Town of Yarmouth
  9. ^ Ancient North Yarmouth and Yarmouth, Maine 1636-1936: A History, William Hutchinson Rowe (1937)

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