Description of Historic Place
The Norwich United Church and Manse is located at 80 Main Street West, on the northwest corner of Main Street West and Clyde Street, in the Village of Norwich, Township of Norwich. The two-storey white-brick manse was constructed in 1875. The two-storey brick church was constructed in 1885.
The property was designated, by the Township of Norwich, in 1985, for its architectural and historical value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 27-85).
The Norwich United Church Manse was constructed in 1875 as a parsonage for Methodist and later United Church ministers of the Norwich congregation. The Manse, which is still used as a home for ministers, has played a significant role as the link between the minister, the congregation and the community for over 125 years.
The Norwich United Church is representative of the importance of both the Methodist and United churches in the Norwich area. It has been a place of continuous worship for over 120 years. Originally created as the Norwich Methodist Church, in 1885, it is situated on the site of two previous churches. The original frame church, of 1824, was moved off site in 1861. The 1862 brick church was replaced by the building that stands today. The Methodist Church in Canada merged with other Protestant denominations to form the United Church of Canada in 1925.
The Norwich United Church Manse is a blocky, Italianate residence that was the prototype for more than forty similar homes in the Norwich area. Constructed of local white-brick, the Manse, features many outstanding exterior and interior elements. Characteristic of the Italianate style, it exhibits symmetry and decorative elements, such as the paired brackets under the roof eaves and the twin round-headed windows and doors of the second-storey. The interior of the Manse is equally impressive and boasts handcrafted door and window trim, wide baseboards, an archway in the living room, panelling below the windows and parlour wainscoting. Also of note is the half-spiral staircase with oak banister, which stands as a focal point of the centre hall.
The Norwich United Church, like the Manse, was designed in the Italianate style and is an architecturally striking building. Designed by architect William Mellish of Brantford, it was constructed by William Merrill, a local trustee of the Methodist church. The church is constructed of 200,000 bricks from the local Irwin brickyard. Typical of the Italianate style, the church features a broad gable with three recessed doors below triple round-headed windows. The façade and elevations of the church are supported by slender buttresses which grow out of the bases of the moulded window surrounds. Also of note are the front doors topped with original stained glass windows. Interior features of the sanctuary that are worthy of mention include the apse, the nineteenth century pipe organ, the cast-iron-ended numbered pews and the wide pine floors and baseboards.
Source: Township of Norwich, By-law 27-85.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Norwich United Church and Manse include its:
- date stone inscribed “Methodist Church 1885”
- continued uses as a parsonage and a place of worship for over 120 years
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Norwich United Church Manse include its:
- symmetrical rectangular plan
- white-brick construction
- paired brackets below roof eaves
- twin round-headed windows and doors in second-storey
- original windows
- handcrafted interior woodwork
- door and window trim
- wide baseboards
- archway in the living room
- panelling below the windows
- parlour wainscoting
- half-spiral staircase with an oak banister
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Norwich United Church include its:
- local brick construction
- broad gable with three recessed doors below the triple round-headed windows
- buttresses which grow out of the bases of moulded window surrounds
- triangular windows in the gable ends
- front doors topped with original stained glass windows
- nineteenth century pipe organ
- round-headed windows
- cast-iron-ended numbered pews
- wide pine floors and baseboards
- moulding below the pulpit platform which matches the balcony
- original side staircases which connect the first-storey with the sanctuary