Description of Historic Place
The Clayburn Church is a restored 1912 structure that was originally built for a Presbyterian congregation. This red brick church is located in the brick-making village of Clayburn, on the west side of Sumas Mountain, in relative proximity to the other early, principal structures in the village, including the Clayburn School.
Located within the village of Clayburn, British Columbia's first company town, Clayburn Church is symbolic of the early life in the village and also its primary industrial activity of brick-making. The village and brick plant were founded in 1905 by Charles Maclure, son of John Maclure, a former Royal Engineer who settled on a government land grant west of Clayburn. Company towns provided housing and services in order to sustain a productive workforce in what were usually isolated conditions. The plant operated in Clayburn until the 1930s, when it was relocated and most of the original residents moved away.
Built in 1912, the Clayburn Church was one of the landmark structures in the community due to its early vernacular architecture and conspicuous utilization of the local brick from the Clayburn brickyards. Modest in size and design, this simple village church featured a steeply pitched roof with rooftop belfry. The church was constructed of red brick on the exterior and exposed buff brick interior walls; buff brick was a specialty of the Clayburn Company. The interior brick, which typically would have been clad with finishing material, is exposed, indicating the pride the community had for their local product.
Indicative of the high regard the community held for the church, when it was in severely deteriorated condition, the building was dismantled piece by piece in 1978 and reconstructed using as much salvageable material as was possible. Furthermore, as many of the original exterior bricks could not be re-used, new bricks of a similar type were reproduced at Clayburn Industries, successor to the original Clayburn brickworks, perpetuating the link between the community and this prominent local company.
The Clayburn Church is also of value for its role of service to the community as a place of worship and community gathering. It served a Presbyterian congregation until Church Unification in 1925, when it voted to join the new United Church of Canada. Clayburn Church was closed in 1958 when the congregation amalgamated with Trinity Memorial Church in Abbotsford. Since re-opening in 1978, the sanctuary has been used as a community place of worship, weddings, christenings and other community functions.
Source: City of Abbotsford
Key elements that define the heritage character of Clayburn Church include its:
- location on its original lot, close to its original location, near other historic Clayburn structures
- ecclesiastical form, scale and massing as expressed by its regular, rectangular plan with a small square front porch with front gabled roof
- steeply pitched front gabled roof clad in cedar shingles; rooftop belfry with shingle-clad base, louvered vents and pyramidal roof topped by a small wooden finial
- interior and exterior masonry construction: brick, cavity wall construction with red brick exterior; exposed, buff-coloured brick interior walls utilizing original interior bricks; rear addition feature wall utilizing original, exterior red bricks
- fenestration, including: segmental arched openings with multi-paned, wooden-sash casement window assemblies within main sanctuary; multi-paned, fixed wooden-sash windows in porch; louvered front vent; and front entrance with fir panelled, v-joint front doors
- interior features such as fir mouldings surrounding window and door openings; raised altar with original, turned, fir railing; fir floor; open interior plan; and high, exposed wooden truss roof with plank ceiling.