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Ruby Church

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/02/22

Exterior photo, Ruby Church (St. Matthew's Church), Goulds, St. John's.; Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2004.
Ruby Church (St. Matthew's Church), Goulds
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/01/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Built in 1913 by the Ruby family of the Goulds, Ruby Church is a two storey, wooden framed church with a wooden bell tower on one end. This church is an example of a country church that employs a number of elements of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. The designation is limited to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Ruby Church is designated as a Registered Heritage Structure due to its historic, architectural environmental and cultural values.

The Ruby Church has a very rich history in the community of the Goulds. In 1910, the Anglican Church began to build a church in the community but local farmer George Ruby felt that the church was too far away from his home so he offered up the land and raised the money for the construction of St. Matthew’s Church, known as Ruby Church throughout the community. Construction of Ruby Church began in 1913 and while the church was never officially consecrated it became one of the centres of the Anglican community in the Goulds until the 1960s. The church was built by the Ruby family and they became the unofficial caretakers of the property despite the fact that it was owned by the Anglican Church. This historical association with the Ruby family is important because it is indicative of the family’s influence in the community.

Architecturally, Ruby Church is an excellent example of the country churches that are becoming rare in Newfoundland communities. Constructed of local wood using local labour, the church stands as a testament to the quality of craftsmanship during this period. Furthermore, the church employs a number of simplified Gothic Revival elements which were typical in rural churches during this period.

The gravesite on the church grounds holds the graves of many members of the Ruby family and their descendants. This gravesite is valuable because of its association with the people who built the church.

Ruby Church is culturally important as a reminder of the way in which religion was practiced in the past, in more humble and simple churches. Furthermore, Ruby Church served the community of the Goulds as a centre of worship for over 50 years and stands as a remnant to a historical cultural landscape.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, unnumbered designation file: "Goulds - Ruby Church."

Character-Defining Elements

All those exterior features that are reflective of the Newfoundland vernacular eccelesiastical interpretation of the Gothic Revival style, including:
-wooden bell tower with pyramidal roof;
-Gothic style arched windows;
-wooden shingles;
-narrow clapboard;
-location of building relative to the gravesite;
-transom window over main door;
-building height, massing and dimensions.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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