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St. Mary's Anglican Church and Cemetery Municipal Heritage Site

Elliston, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/04/10

View of St. Mary's Anglican Church and Cemetery, Elliston, showing front of church, 2006/01/12; L Maynard, HFNL, 2007
St. Mary's Anglican Church and Cemtery, 2006
View of Elliston from Lodge Hill, with St. Mary's Anglican Church in the foreground, showing right and rear of the building and the cemetery in front of the church, circa 1950 ; Tourism Elliston Inc., 2007
Elliston circa 1950 with St. Mary's in foreground
View up St. Mary's Church and Cemetery path towards main entrance of church, 2006/06/15; L Maynard, HFNL, 2007
St. Mary's Churchyard, Elliston, summer 2006

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1872/01/01 to 1875/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/06/04

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. Mary's Anglican Church and Cemetery site includes a small, wooden, Gothic Revival style church surrounded by a fenced cemetery. It is located on Main Street in Elliston. The municipal heritage designation includes the building and cemetery land contained within the fenced area at the date of municipal designation.

Heritage Value

St. Mary's Anglican Church and Cemetery Municipal Heritage Site has been designated because it has aesthetic and historic values.

St. Mary's Anglican Church has aesthetic value because it is a fine example of outport, vernacular interpretation of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. The steeply pitched gable roofs are set off through the use of carved crosses positioned at each peak. The Gothic arch windows have diamond shaped muntins that complement the arched doorway. Many of the interior features of the church are original and particularly notable is the scissor-braced roof truss, visible from inside, as are the exposed beams. The mortise and tenon solid joinery in the frame construction is also noteworthy.

The church has historic value because it was constructed by Allen and Robert Ryder, well-known and prolific builders of the Bonavista Peninsula area. It was partially paid for by a large donation from local merchants Robert and Arthur Tilley of Elliston. It is also one of the oldest buildings in Elliston, having been built around 1872 to 1875.

The churchyard cemetery has historic and aesthetic values in association with the church and in its own right. The headstones in the cemetery contain valuable historic information, and one commemorates prominent clergyman Canon A.G. Bayley. The more recent headstones are granite, while most of the older ones are white or grey marble, limestone, slate or wood. The cemetery grounds include historically popular cultivated plants such as columbine and forget-me-not amongst its natural topography. The churchyard has a white picket fence with an iron front gate, and a flagstone walkway lined by mature trees leads to the church’s front entrance. All these elements combine to contribute to the overall cultural landscape significance of the site.

Source: Town of Elliston Town Council Meeting Minutes of 2007/04/04.

Character-Defining Elements

All those interior and exterior features that are representative of the Gothic Revival style or otherwise contribute to the building’s architectural significance, including:

-the arched doorway;
-steeply pitched roof;
-arched windows;
-narrow wooden clapboard sheathing;
-wooden roofing shingles;
-mortise and tenon construction;
-scissor-braced roof truss; and
-location within the community, overall dimensions and orientation towards the ocean.

And the features of the churchyard cemetery that contribute to the historic and aesthetic values of the of the site and its significance in the cultural landscape:

-natural topography;
-cultivated mature trees and plants;
-type and placement of cemetery headstones;
-materials and placement of pathway to front door;
-and materials and placement of picket fence and front gate
-and location in relation to the church building.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer



Allen and Robert Ryder

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Elliston, PO Box 115, Elliston, NL, A0C 1N0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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