Description of Historic Place
Wentworth United Baptist Church, built in 1874, is a modest, wooden country church sitting on Highway 104 in Nova Scotia’s rural Wentworth Valley. The one-storey church is near the edge of the main road on a flat, open lot with no trees or greenery to hide its simple, unadorned features. The municipal designation covers the building and property, and includes the small cemetery beside and behind the church.
The value of Wentworth United Baptist Church lies in its association with the history of the Baptist denomination in Cumberland County, and, in particular, in its association with the Reverend Obed Chute. Value is also found in its being a good example of a nineteenth century, country Baptist Church built in the meeting house tradition, with Greek Revival and Gothic Revival elements.
The Wentworth United Baptist Church represents one of the first Protestant denominations established in Cumberland County. The Wentworth Baptist community was officially organized in 1838, built its first church in 1847, and then replaced it with this structure in 1874. The church sits across the highway from the community centre, and has played a central role in community activity.
The congregation is also proud of its association with the Reverend Obed Chute, who was ordained in the church in 1850. Chute, originally from the Annapolis Valley, is noted for his ministry in Digby and Yarmouth during the second half of the nineteenth century. He is also the father of Dr. Arthur C. Chute, a renowned clergyman who served as Dean of the Department of Theology at Acadia University, and the grandfather of the Reverend Arthur Hunt Chute, a distinguished author and editor.
The Wentworth United Baptist Church is representative of many rural, Protestant churches built in Cumberland County in the mid to late nineteenth century. It is a symmetrical, wooden, one-storey, modest Greek Revival structure with a medium-pitch roof and a pedimented front gable. The symmetry characteristic of the meeting house tradition is evident in the church’s centered entry and the three windows that line each side of the church. The most prominent features of this simple church are the Gothic Revival windows and the plain, square steeple tower rising from the front porch of the church. In keeping with the Gothic Revival theme, the tower is decorated in front with a small, pointed-arch window.
Source: “Heritage Properties County, Wentworth United Baptist Church” File, Cumberland County Museum.
Character-defining elements of the Wentworth United Baptist Church include:
- location on original site and across from community centre;
- original form and massing;
- one-storey, wood construction;
- original wooden clapboard siding;
- double-door entry in porch on gable end;
- narrow, rectangular stained glass windows flank front entry;
- square steeple tower capped with hip roof rising from front porch and breaking lines of pedimented gable and roof peak;
- low-pitch roof on porch;
- traditional meeting house form elements such as simple, symmetric form and little ornamentation;
- cemetery with historic stones surrouding church building.
Character-defining Greek Revival elements of the Wentworth United Baptist Church include:
- symmetry and balance;
- medium-pitch roof with pedimented front gable and return eave on back gable.
Character-defining Gothic Revival elements of the Wentworth United Baptist Church include:
- decorative Gothic window in steeple tower;
- three pointed-arch windows on each side of church.