Description of Historic Place
Centenary United Church is located in a picturesque setting on a hill overlooking the Annapolis River in Upper Granville, Nova Scotia. It features a tall roof with a steeply pitched gable, two entrance porches and a large rose windows centered on its front facade. This early Gothic Revivial style church is believed to be the oldest Methodist Church still standing in Canada. The building and property are located in the designation.
Centenary United Church is valued because it is believed to be the oldest Methodist Church still standing in Canada and for its early Gothic Revival style architecture.
The Reverend William Black, the founder of Methodism in the Maritime Provinces, first visited the Granville area in 1782. His visit and those of other itinerate Methodist missionaries led to the building of the Church in 1792 on a back road in Beaconsfield. In 1799, the Church was moved by ox teams to its present site in Upper Granville.
Many famous Methodist missionaries preached in the church, including Reverend Joshua Marsden. The Church became the headquarters for the Annapolis Valley Circuit. As far as can be determined, this is the oldest Methodist Church still standing in Canada.
The architecture of this early Gothic Revival Church is exceptional, with interior and exterior details relating well to produce a cohesive and well thought out design. It is especially interesting that the Church was built when Gothic Revival was a new architectural idea and other churches in the area were being built in more established styles.
Source: Provincial Heritage Property files, no. 62, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS
Exterior character-defining elements of Centenary United Church relating to its Gothic Revival architecture include:
- rectangular form with a five-sided chancel;
- tall roof with steeply-pitched gable;
- major windows along the side elevations with pointed arches, heavy, moulded architraves and decorative wooden trancery pattern; same basic design is used in the chancel windows, and the smaller windows in the sides of the entrance porches and in the front facade;
- large rose window in the front;
- tracery pattern is basically composed of circles within a circle;
- front elevation with two entrance porches; one is much wider than the other;
- the smaller entrance has a single door with a pointed arch form and moulded architrave;
- the wider entrance is similar but has double doors, each door forming half of the pointed arch form;
- entrance porches with gable roofs, heavy cornice mouldings, incorporating an interesting cross profile, and a Latin cross at the peaks;
- mock wooden flying buttresses;
- a discreetly placed doorway at the rear of the chuch leading into the chancel.
Interior character-defining elements of Centenary United Church relating to its Gothic Revival architecture include:
- a five-sided chancel;
- an altar area that extends into the main part of the church in a semi-circular plan;
- a gallery, semi-circular in plan, located at the rear of the church;
- ceiling structure that is exposed with arched beam supports, incorporating carved, wooden detail and supported by wooden corbels;
- plaster walls, scored to resemble masonry blocks.