In Nova Scotia, we have a limited number of existing churches that were built in the 18th century. I feel that we are lucky that four of these churches are in close proximity to Annapolis Royal. The surviving churches are Old Holy Trinity Anglican in Middleton, Old St. Edwards Anglican in Clementsport, Centenary United Church in Upper Granville and Christchurch Anglican in Karsdale. For the most part, these churches tend to be simple yet elegant structures. As we go along, I will try to profile each of these architecturally and historically important buildings. Today, I will begin with Christchurch.
In the aftermath of the American Revolution, many Loyalist families emigrated to the Lower Granville area. Some of these families, (Bogart, Bohaker, Cronin, Roblee, Thorne, etc.) still have descendants who live in this area. As with other Loyalists, many of these people belonged to the Church of England (which is otherwise known as the Anglican or Episcopal Church). Allegiance to the Church of England was often associated with sympathies for the British Crown. As the Reverend Jacob Bailey would discover, life could be very difficult in revolutionary America for those thought to sympathize with Britain. While this was not necessarily their reason for leaving America, membership in the Church of England often played a role.
Once the Loyalists began to settle into their new home, their thoughts turned to establishing a church. In 1791, construction began on a new church in Lower Granville. This church was built according to the specifications of Bishop Charles Inglis who was Nova Scotia's first Bishop. The church was officially consecrated as St. Paul's in 1793. In 1882, both the community and the church were renamed. The church became Christchurch and this section of Lower Granville was named Karsdale in honour of Sir William Fenwick Williams of Kars.
Physically, Christchurch is a fairly plain building built in the New England style. Its main decorative feature are its Gothic style windows; many of which have their original glass panels. The steeple has a slightly bellcast roof and is topped by a weathervane which reads 1791. The building is clad with clapboard and painted white.
There are impressive archival records detailing the construction of this building. These records list the contribution made by each member of the community as well as the cost of goods used in the construction of the church. Perhaps my favorite part of these records is that they actually record the number of bottles of rum used during the construction. Who knew that rum was a building material for the Anglican Church?
Christchurch also has an impressive cemetery surrounding the building. This space is quiet and well maintained. Included in this cemetery are the stones of the many of the Loyalist settlers who built the church.
All for now,