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Little Dutch Church

2393 Brunswick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1981/10/27

Graveyard and side elevation, Little Dutch Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Graveyard and Side Elevation
Little Dutch Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2000.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 2005.
Front Elevation
Graveyard, Little Dutch Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.

Other Name(s)

Little Dutch Church
St. George's Church

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1756/01/01 to 1756/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/07/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Little Dutch Church is the most charming relic of early Halifax that began its life as a modest log cottage. The designation applies to the footprint of the church and the graveyard on the lot it occupies.

Heritage Value

The Little Dutch Church is valued as the oldest Lutheran Church in Canada. Between 1750 and 1752 approximately 3,000 German, French and Swiss Protestants came to Halifax, encouraged by the British to colonize Nova Scotia. These people became known as the “foreign Protestants” and were given lots in the North End of Halifax. Some stayed in Halifax and others moved on to settle Lunenburg, NS. Those who remained wanted their own church. An existing log home was moved to the corner of Brunswick and Gerrish and centred over a mass grave containing the bodies of approximately 300 of the Foreign Protestants who died of typhus during the crossing. The original name for this building was St. George's Church, until 1812 when St. George's Round Church was opened. The church became known as the Little Dutch Church; Dutch being a misnomer for the word Deutsh, or German in that language. The congregation were German speaking with a Lutheran heritage and followed the doctrines of the Church of England and the church was officially a chapel of St. Paul’s Church.

The Little Dutch Church is also valued for its association with its builder, Christopher Cleesattel. Cleesattel, who was also a lay preacher, was employed to renovate the log structure into a church. Cleesattel arrived in Halifax aboard the "Gale" in 1751 and was a joiner who specialized in fine carpentry. Following the fall of Louisbourg in 1760 the bell from the fortress was purchased by the congregation. An eleven foot extension was added to the original twenty by twenty-nine foot building and a steeple was made which resembled those in the settlers' homeland to support the newly acquired bell. The brass weathercock bears the directions in German such as N (nord), W(west), S(sud), and O(ost).

Architecturally the Little Dutch Church is valued for its construction, building materials, simplicity of style, and diminutive size. Originally built as a house, the Church has retained something of the Cape Cod style in which it was constructed. The addition of the bell tower and steeple gives the Church a very simplified Georgian, Neo-classic flavour. It continues to hold regular services.

Source: HRM Heritage Property File, 2393 Brunswick Street, Little Dutch Church, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Little Dutch Church include:
- Cape Cod style;
- brick and stone foundation;
- horizontally laid planks with wood shingle cladding walls;
- steeply pitched gable roof;
- simple, rectangular bell tower with round-headed louvered vents on all four sides;
- bell tower capped by a small, octagonal bell-cast or “witch’s hat” spire;
- six of the seven windows are original six-over-six single-hung sashes on six of seven windows;
- wooden shutters on all windows;
- grave beneath building;
- grave yard and grave markers surrounding church;
- reproduction of original eighteenth century rooster weather vane.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

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
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1

Cross-Reference to Collection

Original rooster weather vane is held in the History Collection, Nova Scotia Museum, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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