St. Thomas Manor (1741) is a historic home and Catholic church complex located near Port Tobacco, Charles County, Maryland. It is now known as St. Ignatius Church and Cemetery. The manor house complex is recognized as the oldest Jesuit residence in the world to have been continuously occupied by that order. The mission settlement of Chapel Point was started in 1641 by Father Andrew White, S.J., an English Jesuit missionary. He administered to the PotapocoNative Americans, some of whom he converted to Catholicism. Established in 1662, this is the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic parish in the Thirteen Colonies of North America founded by Great Britain. With the consecration in 1794 of Bishop John Carroll, St. Thomas became the first Roman Catholic see in the United States.
The house is a two-story, seven-bay, brick structure of Georgian architecture, of Flemish bond construction. The mansion is the oldest surviving example of the Georgian style in Maryland. The manor house was built in 1741 as the headquarters of the Maryland Mission of the Society of Jesus, replacing an earlier structure. It served as the Superior’s and later the Provincial’s official residence. This house was also the nucleus of other missions in Maryland and the mid-Atlantic region.
Connected to the manor house stands a two-story brick wing that incorporates a former chapel built in 1798, now called St. Ignatius Church. Outbuildings are also significant, including a small, mid-19th century wood-frame slaves‘ quarter, “one of remarkably few such buildings to survive in this area.” In addition, the former corn crib is the “largest structure of its type recorded in Charles County, and one that exhibits many construction features not represented elsewhere.”
A cemetery lies to the west of the manor house and church. Notable parishioners are buried there, including Confederate agent Olivia Floyd,La Plata benefactor Adrian Posey, judge Walter M. Digges, and U.S. Congressmen, Sydney Emanuel Mudd and Sydney Emanuel Mudd II.
St. Thomas Manor was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. Due to its history and scenic waterfront setting, the manor grounds, church and cemetery attract visitors from distant places. They make up a favorite rest-stop for many bicycle tour groups.