This church is officially known as Christ Church in the City of Boston. Built in 1723, it is the oldest standing church building in the city. The Old North was Boston's second Anglican Church. The English Monarch is the head of the Anglican Church, also known as the Church of England. The Church of England was the church whose persecution of the Puritans, the religious denomination of most of Boston's colonists caused the Puritans to leave England almost one hundred years prior to the Revolutionary War.
In Colonial Boston, the Old North was the King's own church with very strong ties to the British Crown. The majority of the congregation was loyal to the king and many held official positions in the royal government, including the Royal Governor, whose box pew is at the front of the church. The King even gave the Old North the silver it used in its service and a bible.
As members for the royal government and as ship owners and merchants made the Old North a wealthy congregation and part of the ruling class in Boston. In addition to being a house of worship, this church was a reflection of the tastes and manners of the Colonial Boston's wealthy citizens. Their affiliation with the Church of England also set them apart from the rest of Puritan/Congregationalist Boston.
The chandeliers which were rushed from England to be hung in time for the first Christmas Season services would have been frowned upon by the Puritan/Congregationalists (the denomination of the colonists), not only because they were ostentatious displays of wealth, but also because Puritan/Congregationalists didn't celebrate Christmas. The installation of an organ was another symbol of the perceived decadence of the English Church, and would have been frowned upon by the Puritans who forbade structural music in their meeting houses.
The pews are called box pews. Now, we let visitors sit wherever they would like, but at the time of the Revolution, members of the congregation would have had to purchase their pews if they wanted to worship here. Different pews had different prices, the most expensive being the most desirable. Those on the center aisle would have cost significantly more than those on the sides or in the galleries on the second level.
Families, as long as they kept up their pew rents, had exclusive use their pew and would decorate them to their own tastes with fine fabrics and furniture, similar to the Bay Pew. These decorations and where families sat were indications of a family's social status. Many accounts exist in which a family, who arrived late to this country, would purchase a back pew, but would reserve a front pew when one opened up, and thus, in many ways moved up in society. Which is why, for example, General Thomas Gage, Commander of the British Forces, had to sit in the far back pew.
Paul Revere was never a member of the Old North. He was a Congregationalist, not an Anglican. After the Revolution, Paul Revere's son, Joseph Warren Revere, did become a member of the Old North and worshipped here. Revere's principle connection to the Old North was as a bell-ringer, there is no evidence that he worshipped here. When he was a teenager, Revere and several other boys from the neighborhood formed a bell-ringer's guild and were paid to ring the church's bells each week. It is believed that Revere first noticed the view from the top of the steeple while hanging out with his friends in the steeple after the bells were rung.