The Church of St. Mary the Virgin
373 New Maryland Highway, New Maryland, New Brunswick, E3C, Canada
Links and documents
1863/01/01 to 1864/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Church of St. Mary the Virgin is a small wooden Gothic Revival church located prominently at 373 New Maryland Highway in the Village of New Maryland.
The Church of St. Mary the Virgin Provincial Historic Site is significant because of its association with the Neo-Gothic architectural programme of Anglican priest-architect Rev. Edward S. Medley and, his father, Bishop John Medley. Here the two Medleys have collaborated to render a diminutive, wooden, mid-Victorian church-building translated from more formal stone compositions in England dating back to the Middle Ages. Designed by Rev. Edward S. Medley in 1863 and completed the following year, this church was consecrated by Bishop John Medley. It serves as a noteworthy example of the more that 100 Neo-Gothic churches erected in New Brunswick during the 47 year episcopate of John Medley (1845-1892).
A wholehearted expression of the Gothic Revival in rural church-building, this church is also important because of the particular refinement of its architectural components. It exists as one of the finest Medley-inspired, Neo-Gothic, wooden churches in New Brunswick. It presents a compelling interpretation of High Victorian architectural theory transferred from England and adapted to the New Brunswick countryside. The porch-nave-chancel arrangement is an imaginative blend of architectural forms, original among New Brunswick churches.
Inspired by other much larger church buildings of the Gothic manner, St. Mary the Virgin reflects a dramatic emphasis on exterior vertical lines reaching upward along the walls of the building, ending in a distinctive bell turret. This verticality is accentuated further by board-and-batten exterior construction punctuated frequently in the architectural pattern by the characteristic pointed arch motif over windows, doorways and gables.
Surrounded by cemetery stones nestled in a churchyard, the Church of St Mary the Virgin held a central place in the life of the rural community for well over 100 years.
Source: New Brunswick Culture and Sport Secretariat, Heritage Branch, Site File # 57.
Character-Defining Elements of the Church of St. Mary the Virgin include:
- building context surrounded by cemetery stones nestled in a churchyard in what still can be considered a rural community setting;
- dramatic Neo-Gothic stylistic detail together with its liturgical associations with mid-nineteenth century Anglican worship;
- architectural pattern inside and out overwhelmingly articulated in the Gothic manner.
Visual interest and complexity throughout including:
- decorated Neo-Gothic designs found on bargeboards along the eves of the church;
- cross motif displayed in the woodwork of the west gable;
- Celtic cross over west gable;
- window tracery suggestive of medieval church models;
- conveyance of the Gothic Revival’s insistence on vertical lines reaching upward along the walls of the building and converging on a distinctive bell turret with trefoiled openings, which marks the separation between chancel and nave;
- plastered interior is defined by the outline of the building’s timbered frame visible throughout the nave and chancel, the effect being enhanced by the abundance of light through the relatively large stained glass windows;
- Gothic symbolism and ornamentation evident throughout the interior space in the form of quatrefoils, trefoils, pointed arches, on walls and on the liturgical furnishings;
- vertical panelled door facing south;
- cross over south gable.
Province of New Brunswick
Historic Sites Protection Act, s. 2(1)
Historic Sites Protection Act – Historic
1845/01/01 to 1892/01/01
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 # 57
Cross-Reference to Collection