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St. John's Anglican Church and Cemetery

1109 Church Street, Port Williams, Nova Scotia, B0P, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/03/10

Front elevation, St. John's Anglican Church and Cemetery, Port Williams, Nova Scotia, 2007.
; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2007.
Front Elevation
Steeple detail, St. John's Anglican Church and Cemetery, Port Williams, Nova Scotia, 2007.
; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2007.
Steeple
Detail of chancel window, St. John's Anglican Church and Cemetery, Port Williams, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005
Window Detail

Other Name(s)

St. John's Anglican Church and Cemetery
Saint John's Anglican Church

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/06/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. John's Anglican Church and Cemetery are located on the corner of Church Street and Highway 358 in Port Williams, Nova Scotia. This Neo-classically inspired wooden church was built between 1804 and 1812, and is on a picturesque lot surrounded by large, mature trees. The building, cemetery and property are included in the provincial heritage designation.

Heritage Value

John Burbidge is accredited with designing the church. Burbidge immigrated to Halifax from the Isle of Wright with Governor Cornwallis in 1749. He was one of the original grantees of the Cornwallis Township in 1761 and received several appointments including judge of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas and was a colonel in the local militia. Burbidge was also a member of the First Assembly of the Provincial Legislature in 1758 and remained a member until 1770. He based the design of St. John’s on the work of English architect Christopher Wren, including its outstanding steeple.

Construction on the church began in 1804, when the frame was raised, roof shingled, and tower was built and left open as the steeple was built inside it, with the posts resting on the floor. The spire was raised in 1808. Lack of funds delayed work on the interior of the church and it was not completed until 1812; however it was opened for service in 1810. The old meeting house was sold and moved. It still stands not far from its original location and is currently used as an antique store.

The church remains similar to it original form. In 1869 the chancel was extended to make room for a choir and a vestry was added. In 1909 J. Walter Allison presented the church with a bell in memory of his wife’s grandfather, the Hon. Charles Ramage Prescott. By 1962 the bell was beyond repair and placed in the cemetery at the east end of the church. The church hosts numerous memorial stained glass windows, including one in memory of the Hon. Charles Ramage Prescott. The cemetery, which is a combination of historic and newer markers surrounds the building on three sides. The site is located among large and mature trees giving the place a sense of tranquility and peace. The church continues to hold regular services.

Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 61, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of St. John's Anglican Church and Cemetery include:

- wood frame construction;
- clad with wooden clapboard;
- square, saddle-back tower with decorative circular windows on each side and corner pilasters;
- intricately-detailed, octagonal lantern with open keystone arches topping tower;
- lantern topped by a rounded octagonal cap which in turn is surmounted by a slender, octagonal spire with a brass weathervane;
- Palladian window;
- main entrance ornamented by a semi-circular fan light, Georgian pediment and side pilasters;
- doorway flanked on either side by a long, round-headed arch window with decorative keystones and moulding trim;
- three similarly-styled windows placed on side elevations, and corner pilasters;
- all original and historic interior elements including a ‘wine glass’ pulpit made of mahogany;
- location on a large lot, surrounded by mature trees and cemetery.

Character-defining elements of the St. John's Anglican Church Cemetery include:

- original and historic grave stones and monuments;
- grass-covered interment areas.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date

1987/03/10

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1810/01/01 to 1810/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Settlement
Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality

Function - Category and Type

Current

Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Historic

Architect / Designer

Burbidge, John

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 61, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

00PNS0061

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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