Links and documents
1863/01/01 to 1864/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Christ Church Anglican Church is a wooden church building with elaborate Gothic architectural detail overlooking the St. Croix River at 30 Prince William Street, near the centre of the Town of St. Stephen.
Christ Church Anglican Church Provincial Historic Site was designated primarily because of its historical association with the architectural ideas of Bishop John Medley and those of his son, Edward Medley. Both father and son were strong proponents of the Gothic Revival in New Brunswick church architecture and both sought to employ Gothic Revival forms to further the mission of the Anglican Church in the province.
Constructed in 1863-64, this is one of the largest churches built in New Brunswick during the 47 year episcopate of Bishop Medley (1845-1892) and serves as a noteworthy example of the more than 100 Neo-Gothic churches erected under the bishop’s supervision.
Christ Church is also significant as one of the most architecturally ambitious of the several New Brunswick churches designed by the younger Medley, with elaborate Gothic architectural symbolism incorporated into the church exterior and interior detail.
The chancel windows were designed by prominent English Gothicist, William Butterfield, Edward Medley’s architectural mentor.
This church is also noteworthy for its historical associations with the "Carpenter Gothic" style in nineteenth century church architecture. It is an example of the application of formal British Neo-Gothic theory developed by the Ecclesiological Society to the design and construction of a vernacular wooden church in the colonies. Originally, Christ Church had a massive 90 foot Gothic tower, an essential element, attached to the front of the nave. It was a casualty of an 1869 hurricane, known as the Saxby Gale.
Source: New Brunswick Culture and Sport Secretariat, Heritage Branch, Site File # 84.
Character-defining elements of Christ Church Anglican Church associated with the architectural ideas of the Medleys, the historical associations with the "Carpenter Gothic" and the application of formal British Neo-Gothic theory to the design and construction of a vernacular wooden church in the colonies include:
- blend of complex Neo-Gothic architectural elements, tall aisles, six-bay nave and clerestory on the north and south sides, a distinctive chancel extension and a steeply pitched roof;
- exterior decorative detail including vertical board and batten panels, elaborate bargeboards featuring Gothic symbolic motifs, and along the length of the church, a combination of double lancet windows below and round, star-shaped motif windows in the clerestory above;
- large rose window in the Gothic manner located above the front entrance, facing the St. Croix River;
- in keeping with the fashion of Gothic Revival aesthetics, the church’s woodwork and decorative detailing accentuated by a contrasting light and dark grey painted exterior, with the heavier framing of the church in the dark colour and the board and batten panels in a lighter shade;
- interior structural elements marked by elaborate woodwork of pine, cherry and walnut construction;
- steep angles of the imposing wooden rafters and bracing dominating the upper sections of the nave;
- characteristic Gothic motifs in wood throughout the church including a series of octagonal columns on either side of the nave, the pointed-arch motif in the Gothic arcades and elsewhere, rich vertical wall panelling, sweeping circles and quatrefoils designs in the woodwork;
- flowing window tracery.
Province of New Brunswick
Historic Sites Protection Act, s. 2(1)
Historic Sites Protection Act – Historic
1869/01/01 to 1869/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
New Brunswick Culture and Sport Secretariat, Heritage Branch, Site File # 84.
Cross-Reference to Collection