Description of Historic Place
Constructed circa 1876, Christ Anglican Church in New Ross, Nova Scotia is a large, heavily ornamented Gothic Revival building located on a knoll over looking the intersection of Highway 12 and the Forties Road. The Municipal Heritage Designation applies to the building and surrounding property.
Christ Anglican Church is valued for its age, historical associations and Gothic Revival architecture.
Construction of the church began in 1876 under the direction of Reverend Joseph Norwood, who had arrived in the community in 1874. Reverend Norwood had quickly gained the respect of his parishioners with his ambitious plans for a new, larger church to replace the existing church. He was also respected for the medical assistance he provided to his parishioners. Although there is no evidence that he had any formal medical training, local histories often note his healing abilities.
The church was consecrated in 1879, shortly after Reverend Norwood moved to another parish. Despite his departure, his impact on the community was lasting. A nearby developing community was named in his honour - Norwood Settlement – and the New Ross Masonic hall was named Norwood Lodge. Circa 1906, however, Norwood Settlement was renamed Fraxville.
Christ Anglican Church was constructed by Joseph Skerry, a prominent builder in Lunenburg County. Skerry was both a master builder and an accomplished finish carpenter and cabinetmaker, and also constructed the pulpit. Skerry’s buildings were known to exhibit a certain flair and originality among the simpler forms of architecture found throughout the rural areas of Lunenburg County. Christ Anglican Church’s architecture is no exception to his characteristic flair.
The church’s heavily ornamented Gothic Revival architecture and sheer size make it stand out among other rural churches in the county. The main gable portion of the church sits with its ridgeline facing the Forties Road and features a smaller gabled extension that houses the chancel on its eastern elevation; both gables were constructed in the same period. In contrast, a small lean addition was added to the north elevation of the chancel to serve as an office for the Reverend; however, it has been converted to a small chapel the present-day congregation uses during the winter months.
The most striking feature of Christ Anglican Church is the numerous decorative pinnacles that are found on its rooflines. The square based pinnacles begin to taper to a point where a gable design is found on each side and they terminate with a small cross finial. The pinnacles are located at the peak of all the gables and at their terminating edges, with the exception of the edges of the gable over the main entrance. The Gothic Revival flair of the building is also bolstered by the presence of Gothic Revival inspired arch windows featuring raised form mouldings on all elevations and the presence of decorative wooden buttresses on the side elevations of the main gable and the gabled chancel extension of the building.
Another uncommon architectural feature is the design of its bell housing. The bell is located above the peak of the main gable on the western end of the building and is covered by a gabled roof featuring ornate bargeboard designs and topped by a large finial cross. This roof rests on top of square pillars that rise from the corners of a hipped roof featuring an open centre that rests on the peak of the main gable and is also supported by four square pillars.
Source: Municipality of the District of Chester Heritage Property Files.
The character-defining elements of Christ Anglican Church that relate to its Gothic Revival architecture include:
- wooden structure;
- steeply pitched gabled elevations;
- pinnacles located at the peak of all gables and at their terminating edges (excluding the gable over the main entrance) that consist of square bases that taper to a point where a gable design is found on each side and terminate with a small cross finial;
- Gothic Revival inspired arch windows featuring raised form mouldings on all elevations;
- decorative wooden buttresses on the side elevations of the main gable and the gabled chancel extension of the building;
- bell housing construction featuring a roof perched on top of square pillars that rise from corners of a hipped roof featuring an open centre that rests on peak of main gable and is supported by four square pillars;
- decorative design of bell housing featuring ornate bargeboard designs and topped by a large finial cross;
- secondary entrances located on the small cross gables on north and south elevations designed as Gothic Revival inspired arches featuring raised mouldings similar to windows;
- wide wooden water table;
- clad in wooden shingles.