Old Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church
Links and documents
1789/01/01 to 1791/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Old Holy Trinity Church is a wood frame and wood clad church, built in the Georgian tradition in Lower Middleton, Nova Scotia. Set outside of the main commercial and residential area of Middleton, the church is surrounded by an historic burial ground and mature trees, and has remained relatively unaltered since its 1791 construction. The church, while no longer the main church of the parish, continues to hold special services and is a local landmark. Both the church and surrounding grounds are included in the provincial designation.
Old Holy Trinity Church is valued for its historical association with the early history of Nova Scotia and the development of the Anglican Church in Nova Scotia and for it relatively unchanged eighteenth century architectural details.
Construction of Old Holy Trinity Church began in 1789, overseen by Rev. John Wiswall, a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel sent to the District of Cornwallis, Horton and Wilmot to serve the growing population, many of whom had recently arrived in Nova Scotia after fleeing the United States during the American Revolution. Land for the church and burial ground was provided by Governor John Parr to the newly established Parish of Wilmot and construction of a church was promoted by the first Bishop of Nova Scotia, Charles Inglis. Rev. Wiswall contributed greatly to the construction of the church and even did much of the actual building himself and was named the church’s first rector. Enough work had been completed in 1791 to allow for the first service to be held, delivered by Bishop Inglis, however interior elements and the steeple were not complete until 1797. Wiswall remained the parish rector until his death in 1812 and the church serves as a monument to his work in the parish. In 1893 a new church was built closer to the developing town of Middleton; however the church continues to hold special services throughout the year. The church has recently undergone a restoration of its original windows.
The appearance of Old Trinity Church has changed very little since the time of Rev. Wiswall. Built in the Georgian tradition, its simple detailing resembles late eighteenth century meeting houses, manifested for example in the simple flat head windows. The church incorporates a traditional church plan with entrance porch, centre nave and chancel. The Gothic Revival windows on the west elevation are most likely a mid-nineteenth century addition. The interior the church has also remained relatively unchanged with original box pews, pulpit and hardware. It is one of the least altered early Anglican churches in the province. It is a significant landmark, sitting amid a traditional church yard setting surrounded by a burial ground, which includes the grave of Rev. Wiswall and other early settlers, and mature trees.
Source: Provincial Heritage Property File no. 232.
Character-defining elements of Old Holy Trinity Church relate to its relatively unaltered appearance and include:
- simple detailing;
- wood frame;
- wood siding;
- classical pediment over main entry;
- simple side windows with flat head;
- simple round head chancel window;
- Gothic Revival windows on west elevation;
- steeple set on large square tower surmounted by contrasting narrow octagonal belfry and rounded spire;
- all original interior elements, including rear gallery, box pews, window glass, and wood plank floor;
- absence of modern lighting fixtures.
Character-defining elements of the landscape of Old Holy Trinity Church include:
- original burial ground with historic grave markers;
- mature trees;
- location outside of central residential and commercial district.
Province of Nova Scotia
Heritage Property Act
Provincially Registered Property
1797/01/01 to 1797/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
- 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
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Provincial Heritage Property files, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS, B3H 3A6
Cross-Reference to Collection