Melville White Church and Cemetery
15962 Mississauga Road
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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).
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 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
Local Governments (ON)
Ontario Heritage Act
Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)
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.
Location of Supporting Documentation
Town of Caledon
Planning and Development
6311 Old Church Road
Cross-Reference to Collection