Monday, July 20, 2009

Old St Edwards Anglican, Clementsport

Over the past few months I have been posting an occasional series on the surviving 18th century churches in Annapolis County. Whether through good luck or good planning, we have an enviable collection of 18th century churches. There are four of these churches within Annapolis County and another one, St Mary’s in Auburn, just across the border in Kings County. Add to this the oldest Roman Catholic Parrish in Canada, the oldest surviving Baptist church in Canada, the site of the conversion of the Mi’kmaw Chief Membertou and the site of the first Baptist Convention in Canada and we can see an interesting religious history is developing (those planning religious pilgrimages should take note). Today’s post is on perhaps my favorite of the 18th century churches, Old St Edwards Anglican in Clementsport.

I am fond of Old St. Edwards for both the simplicity of its style and its physical placement. For those of you who have not been to Clementsport, the church is perched atop a hill with a commanding view of the Moose River. Legend has it that light from the church on the hill guided many a sailor home on dark nights. Like many churches, Old St Edwards is surrounded by a burial ground. Stones in this cemetery, like that of Douwe Ditmars, go back to the community’s Loyalist founders. It is hard to imagine a prettier country church than Old St Edwards.

In 1790, fifty families in the Clementsport region petitioned Bishop Charles Inglis for the construction of a church at Clementsport. Prior to this services had been held in houses and a barn in the community. Both Rev. Jacob Bailey of Annapolis Royal and Rev. Roger Veits of Digby would have made the trip to Clementsport to conduct services. Bailey and Veits were both employed as Missionaries for the Church of England’s Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. With approval from the Bishop, construction began in 1793. One of the stories of the building of the church tells how clam shells were burned to get the lime for the plaster. Building was virtually complete in 1795 but the church was not officially consecrated until Bishop Inglis’ visit in 1797.

Old St Edwards is an excellent example of the New England Meeting House style of church combined with Classical elements. This style is obviously related to the Loyalist origins of the parishioners. The prominent decorative element of the church is the Palladian windows which are each topped by a keystone molding. At the top of the church is a short four-sided steeple which almost seems a bit stubby by modern standards. Inside, the church contains its original pulpit and box pews.

Today, the museum is operated as a museum by a local not for profit group. On the third Sunday in August the church holds its annual memorial service.

All for now,
RGS
















2 comments:

  1. Many of my Purdy Loyalist ancestors are buried at this church cemetery.

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  2. wonderful webpage...... my grandparents and Parents are buried there also......

    ReplyDelete