Home / Accueil

Old St. Paul's Church (Anglican)

723, Dundas Street, Woodstock, Ontario, N4S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/06/13

Front façade of Old St. Paul's Church – 2002; OHT, 2002
View of Old St. Paul's Church – 2002
View of the interior showing the box pews – nd; OHT
Interior view of Old St. Paul's Church – nd
Exterior of Old St. Paul's Church and rectory – 1959; Archives of Ontario
View of Old St. Paul's Church and rectory – 1959

Other Name(s)

Old St. Paul's Anglican Church
Old St. Paul's Church (Anglican)

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/11/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The building at 723 Dundas Street, known as Old St. Paul's Church, is set back from Dundas Street near Huron Road, in the City of Woodstock. The red-brick church was designed using elements of the Gothic and Classical architectural styles and was constructed in 1834.

The exterior of the building and select elements of the interior, as well as the scenic character of the property are protected by an Ontario Heritage Trust conservation easement (1986). A Provincial plaque was erected to St. Paul's Church in 1958. The property is also designated by the City of Woodstock under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (Bylaw 5256-76).

Heritage Value

Located at 723 Dundas Street in the City of Woodstock, Old St. Paul's is set back from the street, on a large plot of land. The property also contains a cemetery and a rectory.

Old St. Paul's Church is significant for its association with Admiral Henry Vansittart (1778-1843), Captain Andrew Drew (1792-1878), and the development of the City of Woodstock. Drew came from England to Canada in 1832 as Vansittart's agent, to acquire land and invest money on his behalf. One of Drew's first undertakings was to build a brick church on one of the lots he acquired. This location was selected for the church with the intention that a town would develop around it. Vansittart and his family set out for Canada on May 1st, 1834, accompanied by Rev. Bettridge. Bettridge was sent out by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (an Anglican mission agency) to be the rector of St. Paul's. Vansittart pledged maintenance of Bettridge until other sources were available. When the Vansittart family and Rev. Bettridge arrived in Woodstock on June 21, 1834, the church was not finished. Vansittart and his sister, Mrs. East, donated £370 toward the church's construction; the cost of the original project was £1800. During the Rebellion of 1837-38, St. Paul's was used as a temporary jail for suspected rebels captured by local militia. New St. Paul's Anglican Church was built at the intersection of Wellington and Dundas Streets in 1879 to accommodate the growing congregation. As a result of this relocation, Old St. Paul's was closed in 1879 and re-opened to serve the Anglican community in 1882.

Old St. Paul's is an early example of the Gothic Revival style in Ontario church architecture. The Gothic features include the lancet windows and dichromatic brickwork. The chancel was added to the original church in 1843 and the transepts were added in 1851. The window and door openings have vernacular brick hoods. There is a combination of lancet and pointed-arch windows on all façades. The front elevation has a classically-inspired returned cornice, a semi-circular transom over the main entrance door with a brick pediment and pilasters. The tower has a hexagonal cupola with louvered, pointed-arch openings. The base of the cupola is decorated with a dentil trim and bracketed cornice. The low-pitched, timber-frame roof is an example of construction methods used during the 1830s. There is wainscoting and crown moulding encircling the sanctuary, and hardwood floors. The surviving box pews are a prominent feature of the interior. The stained-glass window in the Baptistry is the work of the McCausland Co. of Toronto. The series of additions made to the church have resulted in an irregular plan.

Sources: OHT Easement Files; Illustrated Historical Atlas of Oxford County Ontario 1876. Oshawa: Maracle Press, 1972.; “Old St. Paul's Church: the mother church of the Anglican Communion in the City of Woodstock, Ontario will observe its one hundred and twentieth anniversary 1834-1954 with special services on Sundays, October 3rd and 10th, 1954”.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Old St. Paul's include its:
- Gothic Revival style as illustrated in its form and mass
- fieldstone foundation
- dichromatic brick masonry walls
- lancet and pointed-arch windows
- classically-inspired returned cornice
- semi-circular transom light
- brick pediment and pilasters of the front entrance
- central bell tower with a belfry
- wood, hexagonal metal-clad cupola with louvered pointed-arch openings and dentil trimmed cornice
- timber frame roof structure
- stained glass windows
- nave
- box pews
- plaster walls
- hardwood and softwood floors
- wood mullions in transom light
- wood baseboard and crown moulding
- wood panelling
- cast iron columns
- proximity to the cemetery, which contains the Vansittart tomb
- proximity to the rectory
- position set back on the property, oriented towards Dundas Street, amid a number of mature trees
- the rectory




Recognition Authority

Ontario Heritage Trust

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Ontario Heritage Foundation Easement

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1851/01/01 to 1851/01/01
1986/01/01 to 1986/01/01
1882/01/01 to 1882/01/01
1958/01/01 to 1958/01/01
1976/01/01 to 1976/01/01
1843/01/01 to 1843/01/01
1879/01/01 to 1879/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship


Architect / Designer



Mr. Hill

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Conservation Easement Files Ontario Heritage Trust 10 Adelaide Street East Toronto, Ontario

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places