Description of Historic Place
The Raynardton Free Baptist Church is a wood-frame building of Gothic Revival style influenced architecture, constructed during 1897 – 1898 in the village of Raynardton in the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Municipal heritage designation applies to the building and the corner lot on which it is situated.
The Raynardton Free Baptist Church is valued as one of three surviving Free Baptist Churches still extant in Nova Scotia; for its continued use as a church and for its Gothic Revival influenced architecture.
The Raynardton Free Baptist Church was built during 1897–1898, at a time when the Free Baptist denomination was still very active in Nova Scotia. At that time, there were more than a dozen Free Baptist churches spread throughout Yarmouth County alone, serving approximately eighteen hundred members. Prior to the building of this church, local meetings were held in the school house, but the need was felt for a better building and the decision was made to proceed with its construction. This proved to be one of the best built of the country church buildings in the county and is the largest of the remaining Free Baptist church buildings.
Materials for the building's construction came from widespread sources. A large part of the lumber came from another Free Baptist meeting house that was partially built in Central Kemptville, but for several reasons was not able to be completed and the lumber was hauled to Raynardton by oxen to help with this building. A Capt. John Blauvelt, while at sea, came upon an abandoned vessel and towed it to a seaport. Part of his reward for this act was the bricks, of English manufacture, which had been ballast in the ship and which he donated to the cause. Some of those bricks comprise the foundation of this church, an unusual foundation in the country districts of Yarmouth County.
During 1905-1906 three Baptist denominations, including the Free Baptists, joined to form the United Baptist Church. The members of this church and two others in Yarmouth County, however, elected to retain their identity as Free Baptist congregations, which they have continued to the present day. Although this church was only used for occasional services for a number of years, a relatively recent revival of interest has resulted in more regular use of the building for services. A recent addition to the rear of the church has improved its accessibility and provided necessary facilities to insure its continued, regular use.
The Gothic Revival influenced architecture of the Raynardton Free Baptist Church is exemplified in its steeply pitched gable roof, its pointed arch windows and entrance and its wood frame construction. The pointed arch trim elements on the tower and steeple further emphasize the Gothic Revival influence.
Source: Registered Heritage Property files located at the Heritage Office, 400 Main Street, Yarmouth, NS, B51 1G2.
The character-defining elements of the Raynardton Free Baptist church include:
- location at the corner of two roads in the rural community of Raynardton;
- moderate setback from road;
- situated on a sloped, grass covered lot;
- constructed through community effort;
- small side, wood shingled recent addition that includes amenities which promote regular use.
The character-defining elements of the Gothic Revival influenced architecture of the Raynardton Free Baptist Church include:
- wood frame construction;
- corner tower with steeple;
- pointed arch windows and entrance;
- steeply pitched gable roof with interior end-wall chimney;
- asymmetrical façade;
- double hung sash windows;
- triangular window centred in front gable;
- shingle cladding;
- pointed arch trim designs on tower and steeple;
- corner-board, frieze-board and baseboard trim;
- brick foundation.
The character-defining elements of the interior of the Raynardton Free Baptist Church include;
- walls and ceiling paneled with narrow tongue and groove boards;
- three rows of wooden pews;
- shallow Gothic arched recess behind altar;
- balustrades with turned balusters and moulded handrails setting off nave from sacristy area.