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Orwell Church

RR #2 Vernon, Orwell, Prince Edward Island, C0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2005/12/15

Showing side elevation in winter; Province of PEI, Natalie Munn, 2004
Orwell Church
Showing side elevation in summer; Province of PEI, Brian Simpson, 2005
Orwell Church
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Other Name(s)

Orwell Church
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
St. Andrew's United Church

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/02/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Orwell Church was the former St. Andrew's United Church. It is a white shingle clad building located in the Orwell Corner Historic Village. Constructed in 1861 with Gothic Revival architectural influences, the church was decommissioned in 1978 and leased to the Province of Prince Edward Island as part of the historic village. The designation includes the footprint of the building, it does not include the building's interior.

Heritage Value

The Orwell Church (former St. Andrew's United Church) is valued as a well preserved example of a Gothic Revival style early Scottish Presbyterian house of worship in Prince Edward Island. It was constructed in 1861 for a growing congregation and was then affiliated with the nearby Belfast Presbyterian Church and shared a Minister with them. The builder was Martin Martin of Grandview and the church was designed initially to be 40 feet long and 26 feet wide with a plaster wall interior. All of the building materials and labour were donated. Even the land was donated by Peter Nicholson.

The Gothic Revival style was common in church architecture of the 19th Century. It was characterized by a strong vertical emphasis which translated into pointed arches used above windows and even doorways.

The church was expanded in 1891 with the addition of a 20 by 40 foot transept across the back of the original structure to allow for the inclusion of a pump organ and choir platform. Prior to this change, there was no music during services other than the singing of Psalms. The Scottish heritage of the congregation was strong and even into the early 20th Century, it was common for services to be conducted in Gaelic as well as English.

The adjacent cemetery, dating from 1884, is still used by the community. The Orwell congregation became affiliated with the United Church of Canada in 1925. It was amalgamated in the late 1960s with eight other smaller churches and a new St. Andrew's United Church was established at Vernon Bridge.

Source: PEI Heritage Advisory Committee Files

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the St. Andrew's United Church at Orwell is shown in the following Gothic Revival influenced character-defining elements:

- the overall massing of the building
- the gabled roofs and eave returns
- the wooden shingled cladding
- the style and placement of the Gothic arched lancet windows with decorative tracery and simple trim details
- the style and placement of the doorways with their transom pointed arch windows and tracery
- the central tower with its spiked spire

Other character-defining elements include:
- the location of the church as part of the Orwell Corner Historic Village



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

Province of Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute

Heritage Places Protection Act

Recognition Type

Designated Historic Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type


Historic or Interpretive Site


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Located in the Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4320-20/O2

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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