The Beginning of the Cheshire Academy

By Zhechen Wu

Fact checked by Mrs. Moriarty 

In 1792, several Episcopal clergymen wanted to do something for Connecticut, so they suggested at the next convocation to build a new school named The Episcopal Academy of Connecticut. However, for two years, no action to build a new school was taken. Word started to spread and more and more people agreed to build a new school.

Now, the clergymen, headed by Bishop Samuel Seabury, whose portrait is in the Blue Room in Bowden Hall; needed to choose a location for the school. There were three choices: Cheshire, Wallingford and Stratford.  The most interest came from the townspeople of Cheshire even though in 1790, Cheshire only had a population of 2,337.  When these clergymen visited Cheshire and talked about the plans for building the Academy, one man from town spoke out about the benefits of living in Cheshire – the stately hills of Prospect on the west, the mighty Sleeping Giant on the south and the beautiful Hanging Hills of Meriden on the north. Another man talked about how there were many lakes and rivers in or near Cheshire. Sure enough, the Episcopal Church clergymen began to plan to build the Academy here.

The people now worried about how to get money in order to build the school. The Academy could bring money to the village, so the villagers were happy to provide the land for the school. Thirty Cheshire residents raised sufficient funds to purchase the land on which today Bowden Hall stands.

It was started by the Episcopal clergymen and some of the landowners who were church members. At first, the Academy was mostly a school to prepare young men to go on to become ministers. Though predominately young men, there were some young women at the school when it was first founded as well.  Later, it became a military academy, then the Roxbury School and finally Cheshire Academy of today.

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