Description of Historic Place
St Mark’s Anglican Church was built in 1834 in the Neo-classical style. The building is a one-and-one-half storey wooden construction set back from the road on a small rise at the south side of the highway that runs east-west through Perotte, Nova Scotia. Both the building and the property are included in the municipal heritage designation.
The church has significant historical association with its community. Perotte, N.S. was settled in the lumber boom of the early nineteenth century and the value of St. Mark’s Anglican Church, built in 1834 on land donated by James Spurr, lies in the vital role it has played in the development of the social and community life of Perotte. James Spurr provided the materials and was the church’s builder.
Historic records indicate that the main portion of the church, initially called the “Chapel of Ease” was the first part constructed. Subsequently, two more sections were added “to better serve the then-growing congregation” and thus enlarged, the church was consecrated on November 9, 1843.
As an example of the Neo-classical tradition in Perotte, N.S., the one-and-one-half storey structure, with a medium-pitched end-gable roof with return eaves and pilasters, marks the earliest chapter in the community’s built heritage. St. Mark’s Anglican Church is a rectangular building and sits on a granite fieldstone foundation. The structure is featured as a simple, uncluttered wood-frame construction that outlines the temple pediment styling characteristic of the Neo-classical style typical of many rural Nova Scotia churches. Front and rear projections form the front entrance and rear narthex, the nave being the original “Chapel of Ease”. The rectangular windows are flat-headed, originally with sixteen-over-eight panes.
The most striking architectural detail is the central projecting entranceway with its hipped-roof bell tower with a cruciform spire featuring a repeated Neo-classical triangular pediment over the front entrance. The church bell, originally in service on a Dominion Atlantic Railway locomotive, “The Owl”, continues to ring from the bell tower. Certain alterations such as window and sash replacement and oil lamp illumination conversion to electrical lighting and additions such as an exterior chimney, oil tank and concrete stairway with pipe handrails have brought improvements to the church. The uniquely distinctive characteristics of the structure remain unaltered.
St. Mark’s Anglican Church has retained its original sense of minimalism, characteristic of the heritage value ascribed to its Neo-classical style of construction. The church’s rather isolated location points to its function as a historic beacon of fellowship for the pioneer settlers dispersed in this area and to the stoicism of its current day adherents in retaining its place in history.
Source: Heritage Property File no. OIBNS1392, Municipality of the County of Annapolis, 752 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, N. S., B0S 1A0
Character-defining elements of St. Mark’s Anglican Church that are associated with its Neo-classical style include:
-one-and-one-half storey wood-frame construction;
-medium-pitched end-gable roof with return eaves and pilasters;
-rectangular flat-headed windows;
-Neo-classical triangular pediment over the front entrance;
-central projecting entranceway with hipped-roof bell tower and cruciform spire;
-original church bell;
-granite fieldstone foundation.