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Melville White Church and Cemetery

15962, Mississauga, Town of Caledon, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/02/16

Of note is the Melville White Church with adjacent cemetery and stone wall.; Kirsten Pries, 2008.
Facade, Melville White Church, 2008
Of note are the tombstones of some of Caledon's early Scottish settlers.; Kirsten Pries, 2008.
Cemetery, Melville White Church, 2008
Of note are the small lancet windows on the facade.; Kirsten Pries, 2008.
Detailed View of Facade, Melville White Church

Other Name(s)

Melville White Church and Cemetery
Melville Church
White Church
15962 Mississauga Road

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/02/05

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Melville White Church and Cemetery is located at 15962 Mississauga Road on the west side of Mississauga Road south of The Grange Sideroad in the Town of Caledon. The one storey white frame church was constructed in 1837 and the adjacent cemetery was established in 1866.

The property was designated by the Town of Caledon in 1998 for its heritage value under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law W-84-98).

Heritage Value

The Melville White Church is the oldest standing church in the Town of Caledon, and remains the most tangible symbol of the area's Scottish Presbyterian heritage. Built in 1837 to replace an earlier log church, the White Church served as the focal point of the dispersed rural community of Rockside until its congregation disbanded in 1964. Aptly named for the rugged wilderness in which they'd settled, the 'Rockside Pioneers' comprised a group of Scottish families who had settled in the southwest corner of the former Caledon Township in the 1820s, shortly after completion of the original land survey. The church was built by Daniel McMillan & Bros. of Erin on a one acre site donated by Daniel McLachlan, one of the 'Rockside Pioneers'. Its first minister, Duncan McMillan, preached in both Gaelic and English. The congregation joined the United Church of Canada in 1925. Recently restored by the Belfountain Heritage Society, the church remains an important local landmark, and is open for use as a public venue.

The Melville Cemetery is located immediately south of the church on land deeded in 1866 to the trustees of the Melville White Church by Daniel McLachlan and his wife. It is the largest cemetery in the immediate area, and contains the headstsones of many of the 'Rockside Pioneer' families.

The Melville White Church is the only squared timber frame church in Caledon and one of the few remaining in Ontario predating the Victorian era. The simple, clean lines of the church reflect the unadorned architectural style that was popular among Protestant denominations in the early 19th century. Set end on to the road, the church is rectangular in plan with a medium pitch gable roof and returned box eaves. A single brick chimney is located at the east end. The church is clad in horizontal wood siding with corner boards. Restoration of the building revealed that its original windows were flat topped, later replaced with the existing Gothic windows with simple fork pattern tracery. There are two windows on each facade, with those on the side facades being taller than those on the end facades. On the east end facade, a small frame vestibule of unknown date shelters the centre entrance with its wide, four panel door. In 1902 a rubble stone wall with iron gates was erected across the front of the church and cemetery property.

Source: Town of Caledon By-law W-84-98.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Melville White Church and Cemetery include the:
- one storey rectangular plan
- squared timber framing
- medium pitch gable roof
- boxed cornice and plain eaves
- brick end chimney
- gothic windows with tracery
- horizontal wood siding with corner boards
- frame vestibule
- rubblestone wall with sandstone cap stones, date stone and iron gates
- cemetery monuments of local Scottish settlers




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1964/01/01 to 1964/01/01

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
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure

Architect / Designer



Daniel McMillan & Bros.

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Caledon Planning and Development 6311 Old Church Road Caledon, Ontario L7C1J6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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