Cannonball in Saint Paul's Episcopal Church – Norfolk, Virginia - Atlas Obscura

Norfolk, Virginia

Cannonball in Saint Paul's Episcopal Church

This cannonball stands as a reminder of the final act of a fleeting governor amidst a revolution.  

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The last royal governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, in an act of desperation and anger, attacked Norfolk as he fled Virginia. As he drifted off to sea after being embarrassed at the Battle of Great Bridge, Dunmore shelled the city. In retaliation, patriots attacked loyalists across Norfolk and burned down their homes. Much of the city was destroyed in the carnage except for Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church. 

It’s believed that the Liverpool, a ship in the Royal Navy, fired the cannonball that became lodged in the side of the church. By the 1830s, the cannonball was no longer in it’s resting place. It was later discovered in the nearby cemetery around ten years later. The cannonball was then returned to its original home on the side of the church.

Today, you can see the cannonball above a plaque that reads, “FIRED BY LORD DUNMORE JAN 1, 1776.”

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