Description of Historic Place
St. Luke's Anglican Church is located prominently on St. George Street, opposite the Old Garrison Burying Ground and Fort Anne National Park, in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. This wooden, Gothic Revival style church dates from the nineteenth century. The building and property are included in the provincial designation.
St. Luke's Anglican Church is valued for is close historical associations with the Town of Annapolis Royal and the British garrison and because of its prominent location opposite the Old Garrison Burying Ground and Fort Anne National Park, making it a valuable addition to the streetscape of the town.
The present St. Luke's is the second church of that name in Annapolis Royal. Construction began on the first in 1775, but was not completed until 1789. By 1814, a new building was needed and this led to a call for tenders for a second St. Luke's. Its design followed that of the "Inglis" style churches erected during Bishop Charles Inglis's episcopate in Nova Scotia from 1787 to 1816.
From its construction until 1854, when the last soldiers left Fort Anne for Halifax, St. Luke's was the designated garrison church. Among the famous regiments who attended services were the "Fighting 40th": the Highlanders soldiers who were later part of the Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War.
Although the main structure of St. Luke's dates to the raising of the frame in 1815, the current exterior represents major nineteenth century renovations, probably dating to 1874.
St. Luke's in 1815 would have presented a much different appearance than at present. It possessed three galleries and thirty-six boxed and panelled pews with doors. After the soldiers left Fort Anne for Halifax in 1854, there was no longer any need for the galleries and the two side ones were removed; the rear gallery was retained. A chancel and sanctuary were added in 1874 and thus we see the church as it is today.
The most notable elements of the exterior of St. Luke's are the Gothic Revival style windows of the side elevations. Each window is, in fact, composed of a pair of long, slender lancet windows. Classical detailing found on the building exterior includes the treatment of cornerboards. The square bell tower, surmounted by a spire typical of the early nineteenth century, was erected in 1837. Except for the Gothic Revival style doorway, this structure probably appears close to its original form, though extensive repair was done to the spire after it was hit by lightning in the 1980s.
Situated prominently on St. George Street, opposite the Old Garrison Burying ground and Fort Anne National Park, St. Luke's continues to serve an active congregation.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 142, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Character-defining elements of St. Luke's Anglican Church relating to its Gothic Revival style architecture include:
- prominent location and landmark status on St. George Street;
- wooden structure with gable roof;
- long, slender lancet windows;
- Classically detailed cornerboards;
- square bell tower, surmounted by a spire;
- chancel addition;
- wood clapboarding;
- roundel windows in tower.