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William and Cecilia O'Neill Property Municipal Heritage Site

Conche, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/12/19

Photo view of William and Cecilia O’Neill Property, Conche, showing house, stable and store, 2008; Joan Woodrow/HFNL 2008
William and Cecilia O’Neill Property, Conche, NL
Photo view of William and Cecilia O’Neill Property from the oceanside, Conche, showing store, stable and house and environs, 2005; Joan Woodrow/HFNL 2008
William and Cecilia O’Neill Property, Conche, NL
William and Cecilia O’Neill Property, Conche, NL, showing outbuildings (store and stable), 2006; Joan Woodrow/HFNL 2008
William and Cecilia O’Neill Property, Conche, NL

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1907/01/01 to 1909/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The William and Cecilia O’Neill Property is located at 189 Harbour Drive at Taylor’s Point in O’Neill’s Cove in the Town of Conche. It includes a one-and-a-half-storey house clustered near a store and a stable. The municipal heritage designation includes the house, stable, store, the portion of land on which grows heritage stock rhubarb, and also a well with wellhead, and its associated components, located directly across the road from the buildings.

Heritage Value

The William and Cecilia O’Neill Property has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Conche because of its historical, cultural, architectural and aesthetic values.

The William and Cecilia O’Neill Property is valuable because it is associated with the history of the French migratory fishery in the region, and also with Irish settlers of Conche. The community is part of what was known as the French Shore, a major area of French fishing activities from 1713 to 1904, during which time French migratory fishers enjoyed treaty rights granted by the British. By 1865, the resident Irish population had greatly increased and the French abandoned Conche in favour of nearby Crouse and North East Crouse. The William and Cecilia O’Neill Property is representative of that transitional period in regional history.

According to local history, the O'Neill family of Conche traces its roots to Irish-born Henry O'Neill, who married into the Casey family of Irish settlers at Conche, and received a share of their property. The French had allowed the family to settle there in return for looking after a French fishing room and other services. The designated house was built by Henry O’Neill’s descendant William O'Neill and his brothers, on sub-divided property belonging to their father, John O'Neill, at the site of the family's fishing room at Taylor's Point in 1907. It then housed three generations of the O'Neill family.

A well located directly across the road from the William and Cecilia O’Neill Property buildings is notable as one of the remaining features of the French occupation of the land, before they gave it over to the local Casey and O’Neill families. Its components include a drainage ditch with flagstone bridges, a French drain, concrete walls, wooden cover and wellhouse, and it still provides water for the household, which does not have plumbing. A rhubarb patch on site is reportedly another remnant of French occupation.

The William and Cecilia O’Neill Property has cultural value as a rare intact example of a typical late nineteenth to early twentieth century Irish-Newfoundland family residence and outbuildings at Conche. The proximity of the house, outbuildings, remains of a wharf and sheltered cove makes evident the domestic integration of work and family life.

The architectural value of the William and Cecilia O’Neill Property lies in the visual simplicity of the small scale wooden buildings, and in their status as examples of Irish settler built structures. The small, one-and-a-half-storey house with a gable roof, symmetrical facade and clapboard sheathing is the only remaining residence of its once common architectural type at Conche. The outbuildings are also rectangular, with gable roofs with strip and seam sheathing, narrow siding and simple trims, and are traditional red ochre colour. The original interior layout of the stable is intact. The vertical studded construction of the house and outbuildings is also notable.

The William and Cecilia O’Neill Property has aesthetic value because the collection of heritage buildings evokes the period of early Irish settlement at Conche, while the existence of the French well and rhubarb plants add another, older layer of history. The house faces the main harbour and the church. This orientation and the Taylor’s Point property’s proximity to the ocean underlines its historic relationship to the fishing industry at what were originally French fishing rooms, and then became the site of the O’Neill family fishing rooms and home.

Source: Town of Conche Council Meeting Minutes of 2007/12/19

Character-Defining Elements

Elements which relate to the architectural value of the house:

-height and dimensions (small scale);
-gable roof style and pitch;
-wooden doors and simple trim;
-wooden windows and simple trim;
-symmetrical façade, with a window on each side of the centered main door;
-narrow clapboard sheathing;
-vertical studded construction;

Elements which relate to the architectural value of the two outbuildings (stable, store):

-heights, massing, and dimensions;
-use of red ochre colour;
-gable roof and pitch;
-vertical studded construction;
-narrow clapboard sheathing;
-strip and seam roofing;
-the preserved interior layout of a stable;

Existence of French well and its components, including:

-drainage ditch with flagstone bridges;
-French drain;
-concrete walls;
-wooden cover;

And elements which relate to the cultural and aesthetic value of the property:

-proximity of the buildings and structures to each other;
-their small scale
-proximity of the property to the ocean;
-and the orientation of the house towards the church and main harbour.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type




Architect / Designer



William, John and Michael O'Neill (brothers)

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Conche
PO Box 59
Conche, NL A0K 1Y0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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