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Mortuary Chapel

Trinity (Trinity Bay), Newfoundland and Labrador, A0C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1999/09/25

Aerial view of Mortuary Chapel, Trinity, Newfoundland; HFNL 2005
Mortuary Chapel (Trinity, NL)
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/02/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Mortuary Chapel is a wooden, Gothic Revival structure with a steep gable roof. Built in 1880 to service the Trinity area, it is one of possibly only two such structures remaining in the province. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Mortuary Chapel has been designated because of its cultural, historical and aesthetic value.

The Mortuary Chapel has cultural value because of its use as a memorial site. There are several stained glass memorials in the chapel. They were placed in the chapel to commemorate the lives of residents of Trinity and surrounding communities who had died in the First World War. A large marble plaque mounted on an interior wall commemorates the contribution of George Garland Jr. to the church. George was the grandson of Benjamin Lester, who established a large mercantile premises in Trinity in the 1700s. Unlike many English “merchant princes” who spent little time in Newfoundland, George Jr. lived in Trinity for many years and, as witnessed by this memorial, made a positive impression upon the residents of the community.

The Mortuary Chapel has historical value because of the rarity of such structures in contemporary Newfoundland and Labrador. It is possibly one of only two such chapels remaining in the province. These structures were used primarily as funeral sites with other religious services taking part in larger churches.

The Mortuary Chapel has aesthetic value as it is an excellent example of the adaptation of Gothic Revival style in an outport context. Verticalism is maintained while the style is simplified in terms of both decoration and materials. The Gothic Revival style was the accepted architectural style of Anglican buildings in Newfoundland from the mid 1800s until after the First World War. In the rural context, such buildings were typified by their neatness and regularity.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property designation file M-038-008, Trinity - Mortuary Chapel

Character-Defining Elements

All those features relating to the function of the chapel as a mortuary site, including:
-stained glass memorial windows;
-George Garland memorial plaque;

All those features relating to the building's construction in a Newfoundland interpretation of the Gothic Revival style, including:
-number of storeys;
-steeply pitched gable roof;
-return on eaves;
-finials on ridge of roof;
-wooden roof shingles;
-narrow clapboard;
-corner boards;
-size, style, trim and placement of pointed arch windows;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-location and style of porch on front facade;
-cupola on porch on front facade;
-one-room interior plan;
-exposed beams on interior;
-interior sheathing; and,
-dimension, location and orientation of building.



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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