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Friar’s Cove Municipal Heritage Site

Harbour Breton, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2010/01/13

View of Friar’s Cove, Harbour Breton, NL. Photo taken 2009. ; Doug Wells 2010
Friar’s Cove, Harbour Breton, NL
View of a seastack or "friar" in Friar’s Cove, Harbour Breton, NL. Photo taken 2009. ; Doug Wells 2010
Friar’s Cove, Harbour Breton, NL
Picture of the bell saved from the Resolute when the ship sank in Friar’s Cove, Harbour Breton, NL.; Doug Wells 2010
Resolute Bell

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/01/28

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Friar’s Cove is located approximately 1.6 kilometres south of Rocky Point, Harbour Breton, NL. Red granite sea stacks, known locally as “friars,” mark the entrance to the cove which is only accessible by small crafts. The designation is confined to that piece of land known locally as Friar’s Cove.

Heritage Value

Friar’s Cove has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Harbour Breton because of its historic, cultural and aesthetic value.

Friar’s Cove has historical significance due to its connection with the loss of the two-masted sailing vessel Resolute of Jersey. The Resolute was built in 1877 at the island of Jersey by Thomas Le Huguet of St. Catherine’s Bay, Jersey and was owned by Capt. George Noel of St. Martin, Jersey. The vessel was over twenty-four metres long and almost six metres wide. On August 29, 1905, while sailing from St. John’s to Belleoram in Fortune Bay, the Resolute was caught in a violent hurricane and wrecked at Friar’s Cove. The Evening Post of Saturday, September 2, 1905 stated that the Resolute was completely broken up and its timbers reduced to matchwood in less than twenty-four hours. At the time of the mishap there were five registered crewmembers onboard, four from Jersey and one Russian. The master was 33 year old P.F. Misson of Jersey. Novice cook Sydney Hotton, aged 17 years, drowned in the mishap. The only remains of the ship are some ballast rocks and the vessel’s brass bell with the inscription “Resolute 1877 Jersey.” A nearby sunken rock is called Resolute Rock but is also sometimes referred to as Whaleback Rock.

Friar’s Cove has further historic value due to its association with Dr. Conrad Fitz-Gerald, a Newman & Company doctor. During the thirty years he spent in Harbour Breton in the late 1800s, Dr. Fitz-Gerald frequented the cove on many occasions. He would enter the cove in a small dingy, which was probably the life boat from his yacht the Albatross. He would climb to the top of the first friar, a height of approximately six metres, and dive into the saltwater. He continued this practice until he got up in age and the shock of the cold water became too strenuous.

Friar’s Cove has cultural value as it is an example of how local nomenclature affects the naming of geographical features. “Friar” is a word used in the region to describe sea stacks and other tall, vertical rock outcrops. These rock formations can have unusual shapes and often do resemble a person, perhaps even a friar wrapped in his robes.

Friar’s Cove has cultural value due to its connection to a tradition that was once common in Newfoundland and Labrador – that of bootlegging. Isolated places along the coast, such as Friar’s Cove, were ideal places for bootleggers to conduct business. Local lore says that bootleggers would come to Friar’s Cove around midnight and local buyers would meet them to get their supply.

Friar’s Cove has aesthetic value due to its impressive coastal setting. The cove is only accessible by small boats, as the water is shallow and the entrance to the cove is narrow. The cove features three friars and a small sandy beach.

Source: Town of Harbour Breton Regular Council Meeting Motion #10-09 January 13, 2010.

Character-Defining Elements

All those elements which represent the historic, cultural and aesthetic value of Friar’s Cove, including:
- the name Friar’s Cove;
- unobstructed view planes to and from Friar’s Cove;
- continued public access to Friar’s Cove, and;
- the untouched, natural landscape of Friar’s Cove.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1905/01/01 to 1905/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
People and the Environment

Function - Category and Type



Nature Element

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
1 Springdale Street
St. John's, NL A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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