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Covenanters' Church National Historic Site of Canada

1989 Grand-Pré Road, Kings, Subdistrict D, Nova Scotia, B4P, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1976/11/06

Corner view of Covenanters' Church, showing the evenly spaced multi-paned sash windows, and its setting on treed site surrounded by a burial ground, 1993.; Parks Canada Agency/ Agence Parcs Canada, 1993
Corner view
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Other Name(s)

Covenanters' Church National Historic Site of Canada
Covenanters' Church
Église des covenantaires

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1804/01/01 to 1811/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/05/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Covenanters’ Church National Historic Site of Canada is a handsome, well-proportioned, classically designed wooden building expressive of the typical 18th-century meeting house in New England. A square tower with a small belfry and spire complement the pleasing proportions of this simple two-storey, rectangular church. Careful attention to detail is evidenced in its symmetry, in the regularly placed windows and in its centrally placed entrance. The sober, dignified treatment of the exterior is complemented by its setting in a treed, manicured churchyard surrounded by a small stone wall. Sited on a hill overlooking Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia, it is also a component of the Grand-Pré Rural Historic District National Historic Site of Canada. Official recognition refers to the legal property boundary at the time of designation.

Heritage Value

Covenanters’ Church was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1976 because:
- this simple frame and rectangular form church is characteristic of the 18th-century New England meeting house.

The heritage value of the Covenanters’ Church resides in its physical expression of the New England meeting house form. Originally built as a towerless Presbyterian meeting house, this simple frame church is commonly dated between 1804 and 1811. It received the Covenanter label some decades after its construction when the congregation renewed adherence to the covenant of their ancestors. The rectangular form with a five-bay front and entrance on the long side is characteristic of the 18th-century New England meeting house although the second-storey windows and galleried interior are more elaborate than normal. The interior features a high pulpit and octagonal sounding board with beautifully moulded and panelled woodwork. This laterally organized chapel eventually received a tower and steeple appended to a gable end.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1976; Plaque text, June 1984.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of this site include:
- its setting on treed site surrounded by a burial ground;
- those elements which speak to the characteristics of 18th-century New England meeting house architecture, specifically its wooden construction and classical composition, including:
- the two-storey rectangular massing topped with a medium pitched gable roof;
- the timber-frame construction with wooden cladding, beaded corner boards, and classical mouldings;
- the evenly spaced, multi-paned sash windows, their placement and design and the placement of the second floor windows close to the eaves;
- the tower with an octagonal arcaded cupola and spire attached to a gable end and its doors that complement the front doors of the church;
- the open interior space, its design and form with a panelled, three-tiered pulpit and sounding board opposite the entrance, a three-sided, stepped gallery and box pews;
-the main entrance with its wide surround, projecting cornice supported by decorative brackets, the transom light, and the double door.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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