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Old Holy Trinity Church

49 Main Street, Lower Middleton, Nova Scotia, B0S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/07/27

View of burial ground and rear elevation including chancel window, Old Holy Trinity Church, Middleton, 2005.; Courtesty of Old Holy Trinity Charitable Trust.
Burial Ground
General view of Old Holy Trinity Church and burial ground, Middleton, 2005.; Courtesy of the Old Holy Trinity Charitable Trust.
General View
Main elevation, Old Holy Trinity Church, Middleton, 2005.; Courtesty of the Old Holy Trinity Charitable Trust.
Main Elevation

Other Name(s)

Old Holy Trinity Church
Holy Trinity Church

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1789/01/01 to 1791/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/10/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Old Holy Trinity Church is a wood frame and wood clad church, built in the Georgian tradition in Lower Middleton, Nova Scotia. Set outside of the main commercial and residential area of Middleton, the church is surrounded by an historic burial ground and mature trees, and has remained relatively unaltered since its 1791 construction. The church, while no longer the main church of the parish, continues to hold special services and is a local landmark. Both the church and surrounding grounds are included in the provincial designation.

Heritage Value

Old Holy Trinity Church is valued for its historical association with the early history of Nova Scotia and the development of the Anglican Church in Nova Scotia and for it relatively unchanged eighteenth century architectural details.

Construction of Old Holy Trinity Church began in 1789, overseen by Rev. John Wiswall, a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel sent to the District of Cornwallis, Horton and Wilmot to serve the growing population, many of whom had recently arrived in Nova Scotia after fleeing the United States during the American Revolution. Land for the church and burial ground was provided by Governor John Parr to the newly established Parish of Wilmot and construction of a church was promoted by the first Bishop of Nova Scotia, Charles Inglis. Rev. Wiswall contributed greatly to the construction of the church and even did much of the actual building himself and was named the church’s first rector. Enough work had been completed in 1791 to allow for the first service to be held, delivered by Bishop Inglis, however interior elements and the steeple were not complete until 1797. Wiswall remained the parish rector until his death in 1812 and the church serves as a monument to his work in the parish. In 1893 a new church was built closer to the developing town of Middleton; however the church continues to hold special services throughout the year. The church has recently undergone a restoration of its original windows.

The appearance of Old Trinity Church has changed very little since the time of Rev. Wiswall. Built in the Georgian tradition, its simple detailing resembles late eighteenth century meeting houses, manifested for example in the simple flat head windows. The church incorporates a traditional church plan with entrance porch, centre nave and chancel. The Gothic Revival windows on the west elevation are most likely a mid-nineteenth century addition. The interior the church has also remained relatively unchanged with original box pews, pulpit and hardware. It is one of the least altered early Anglican churches in the province. It is a significant landmark, sitting amid a traditional church yard setting surrounded by a burial ground, which includes the grave of Rev. Wiswall and other early settlers, and mature trees.

Source: Provincial Heritage Property File no. 232.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of Old Holy Trinity Church relate to its relatively unaltered appearance and include:

- simple detailing;
- wood frame;
- wood siding;
- classical pediment over main entry;
- simple side windows with flat head;
- simple round head chancel window;
- Gothic Revival windows on west elevation;
- steeple set on large square tower surmounted by contrasting narrow octagonal belfry and rounded spire;
- all original interior elements, including rear gallery, box pews, window glass, and wood plank floor;
- absence of modern lighting fixtures.

Character-defining elements of the landscape of Old Holy Trinity Church include:
- original burial ground with historic grave markers;
- mature trees;
- location outside of central residential and commercial district.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1797/01/01 to 1797/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Peopling the Land

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




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Heritage Property files, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS, B3H 3A6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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