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Argyle Historic Church and Cemetery

19 Argyle Head Road, Argyle Head, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/06/18

View of old burying ground at rear of church, Argyle Historic Church and Cemetery, Tusket, NS; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2009
View of old burying ground at rear of church
Façade/East gable end, Argyle Historic Church and Cemetery, Tusket, NS; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2009
Façade/East gable end
Façade/East gable end and south ridge wall, Argyle Historic Church and Cemetery, Tusket, NS; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2009
Façade/East gable end and south ridge wall

Other Name(s)

Argyle Historic Church and Cemetery
Argyle Baptist Historical Church and Cemetery

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1877/01/01 to 1887/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/01/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Argyle Church is a small one-storey Gothic Revival church of wood construction located on a hill easily viewed from Highway 3 at Frost Corner, Argyle, NS. The old burial ground is enclosed in a stone wall and sits at the rear of the church. The designation applies to the church, cemetery and surrounding property.

Heritage Value

The Argyle Historic Church and Cemetery is valued due to its associations with early settlers in Argyle Township. The history of this site goes back to the settlement of the Argyle area by New England Planters in the early 1760s. The first building to occupy the property was a Congrationalist Meeting House erected on the hill, near the site of early graves, in the 1760s. The current structure replaced a second building constructed in 1806, which was lost to fire in 1865. The present church opened for worship in 1877; however construction was not completed until 1887. Originally there was a large spire that was used by fishermen as a navigational landmark. It was removed in the 1930s and replaced by the cap-like structure now seen on the top of the tower. Although the church is no longer in service, it remains the oldest surviving Protestant church in Argyle.

The site is notable for its association with Reverend John Frost, the first Protestant minister ordained in what is now Canada, who served here and is buried in the adjoining cemetery. Evangelist Henry Alline, who established three "Gospel Churches" on the south shore in the 1780s, one of which was the Argyle church, also preached here.

Established in the 1760s and in use until 1891, the burial ground is one of the earliest and longest used graveyards in the area. The cemetery is also unique in that the community has respected the hundreds of uninscribed fieldstone markers that mark the early graves here. It is rare in Nova Scotia for such a graveyard to be maintained and remain basically unaltered. The heritage designation was based on the value of the burial ground behind the church, and the fact that the building acts as a protector of that sacred site.

Source: Argyle Municipal Heritage files, File #003

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Argyle Historic Church include:
- Gothic Revival features such as the central double door with a long curved window above, four bay façade of curved windows, and massing typical of the Classical Revival structures;
- single storey, wood construction;
- steeply pitched gable roof;
- central tower on the front façade;
- classical decorative cornerboards;
- chimney on rear wall.

Character-defining elements of the Argyle Historic Church Cemetery include:
- mature trees;
- original and historic grave stones and monuments;
- grass-covered interment areas;
- stone wall enclosure with stone step entrance;
- location at rear of the Argyle Historic Church.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date

1987/06/18

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1877/01/01 to 1887/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Historic or Interpretive Site

Historic

Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer

Kinney, James

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Municipality of Argyle Heritage Property Register, Argyle Township Courthouse Archives, Tusket NS, B0W 3M0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

53MNS0002

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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