18th Century History - Cheshire Academy is Founded

From 1770 – 1780, the Episcopal religion was floundering in the colonies. Believing that the religion would be better received if there were an American bishop, a delegation sent Samuel Seabury to England. When he returned as the first Episcopal Bishop of America, one of his first duties was to start a school to educate future clergy. Cheshire was chosen as the site and in 1794 the Episcopal Academy of Connecticut opened its doors.
The first headmaster, Rev. John Bowden, taught classes in a small building in town until the completion of a new school building. Bowden Hall was erected in 1796 as an “all Cheshire project,” since only one third of the donors belonged to the church. The original charter was quite liberal, providing for the education of both genders and the freedom for students to practice the religion of their family’s choice. In 1836, a new constitution designated the school as exclusively for boys, a system that didn’t change until 1969.
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