Sherwood Episcopal Church in Cockeysville readies major stormwater runoff project

Water, water everywhere is a common occurrence in the heart of Cockeysville after a storm rolls through. Sherwood Episcopal Church, on the east side of York Road at Sherwood Road, experiences the effects greatly with stormwater runoff racing through its property and, in response, has launched the Clean Water Project to counter it.

The church recently received a $60,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust Watershed Assistance Grant Program, which will be used to combat the effects of stormwater runoff flowing down Sherwood Hill through the church’s campus, which causes extensive erosion on the property, hazardous conditions for motorists and flooded basements in businesses along the York Road corridor.


Prior to launching the Clean Water Project, this joint effort between church members serving on Sherwood’s Campus Imperative Team, neighbors, and consultants led to many hours of research and discussion.

Storm water run off racing through the Sherwood Episcopal Church property.

“God created this gorgeous natural setting for us on Sherwood Hill, and it’s our responsibility to protect it,” said the Reverend Nancy H. Hennessey, rector of Sherwood Episcopal Church. “As a people of faith and within our Episcopal tradition, it’s important that we care for our community and environment. We can help do this by filtering of the water that runs through our campus so that it empties into the Loch Raven Reservoir clean.”


The Clean Water Project has four objectives: 1. i the management and treatment of stormwater via a 13.3-acre drainage area; 2. the protection of existing infrastructure from storm events; 3. creation of a habitat for native flora and fauna with pathways for the public; 4. establishment of projects to educate the community and other faith-based organizations about the benefits of natural solutions to stormwater issues.

“The solution we will utilize is a Step Pool Stormwater Conveyance System that will take surface storm flow and convert it to shallow groundwater flow through a series of attenuation ponds and sand seepage filters,” said Ralph Wismer, leader of the campus imperative team formed to study the water runoff issue.

The Clean Water Project is slated to begin in the fall of 2022 with the demolition of Sherwood’s 50-plus-year-old parish office, which is in the path of the stormwater conveyance system.

Founded in 1826, Sherwood Episcopal Church has perched on the hill above Cockeysville for almost 200 years. Established for local residents who no longer wanted to make the arduous journey to either St James in Monkton or St Thomas in Baltimore City, the church sits on land donated by Mrs. Frances Thwaites Deye Taylor.

She transferred land from Sherwood, her estate named after England’s Sherwood Forest, to a group of local residents along with an unfinished building “intended for a Protestant Episcopal church”.

The church is architecturally significant because it was the first Gothic Revival-style building in Baltimore County, and it was designed by Taylor, who is buried in Sherwood’s cemetery, along with members of the Bosley, Merryman, and Cockey families – all parishioners and supporters of the church through the years. Sherwood Episcopal is a Baltimore County landmark and home to one of the few green spaces along York Road from Hunt Valley to Baltimore City.