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Old Carleton County Court House

19 Court Street, Woodstock, New Brunswick, E7M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1977/06/06

Old Carleton County Court House - front façade; PNB
Old Carleton County Court House
Old Carleton County Court House - side elevation; PNB
Old Carleton County Court House
Old Carleton County Court House - front and side elevations; PNB
Old Carleton County Court House

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/09/05

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Old Carleton County Court House consists of a two and a half storey Neo-classical wood clapboarded building constructed in 1833. It is formally situated on a large fenced plot of land overlooking the St. John River in the village of Upper Woodstock.

Heritage Value

The Old Carleton County Court House is designated a Provincial Heritage Place for its architecture and the role it played in the judicial system in Carleton County.

The Old Carleton County Court House is a Neo-classical style building reflecting the prosperity and rise to prominence of Upper Woodstock in the nineteenth century, which was made the shiretown of Carleton County in 1832. It is an elegant structure that illustrates its functional importance through its massiveness, symmetry, balance, architectural detail and quality of construction. The interior and exterior elements form a good example of a county courthouse built in New Brunswick in the mid-19th century, reflecting a vernacular building tradition with Classical principles. It is a carefully restored public building constructed of a heavy-timber wood frame set on a stone foundation, and is a significant example of an early Canadian Neoclassical style building.

Until replaced by the present Woodstock courthouse in 1909, the Old Courthouse served Carleton County for seventy-six years as the seat of justice and as a venue for many community activities. It was used as a horse barn until 1966 when it was purchased by the Carleton County Historical Society and carefully restored as an historic site.

Source: Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport - Heritage Branch - Historic Places Site File

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements that relate to the exterior of the Old Carleton County Court House include:
- orientation towards the St. John River and the center of the village, creating an imposing public image symbolic of its purpose and ideals;
- symmetrical and ordered arrangement of the five bays with a grand central double door;
- typical pitched gable roof;
- front portico comprised of a hip roof supported by two Classically detailed wood columns on a stepped wooden base;
- wood quoins at each building corner;
- painted wood clapboard cladding and trim, including simulated keystone ornament at each window head;
- single-storey hip-roofed judge’s chambers on the north façade, added in 1866;
- random coursed, original rubble stone foundation walls supporting the main building;
- considerable fenestration throughout, featuring sizeable 15 over 15 single-hung wood frame windows throughout the main floor;
-10 over 10 single-hung windows throughout the upper floor;
- fanlight transom window above the main door;
- 6 over 6 single-hung windows at the judge’s chambers;
-12 over 8 single-hung arch-top windows at both gable peaks.

The character-defining elements that relate to the interior of the Old Carleton County Court House include:
- spartan entry hall and foyer leading to the courtroom;
- side hallway;
- jury room and barristers’ room;
- hallway stair and balustrade, with half being original, leading to the upper floor clerk’s office;
- guard room with its iron-barred windows and bulky wood security door;
- upper balcony;
- distinctive spatial qualities of the lofty courtroom, restored to its original arrangement, located at the northern end of the building;
- second floor public balcony supported by painted round wood columns;
- balcony featuring stepped tiers for viewing and a painted baluster railing separating it from the open space below;
- east side of the courtroom floor featuring two-tiered elevated “step” levels for the jury;
- south side features a single tiered public seating area with replica wooden benches;
- intermediate separations located throughout the area, including painted baluster dividers with stained wood railings and newel posts defining the clerk and jury areas;
- replica furniture including stained and paneled judge’s bench, witness stand, and prisoner’s box;
- original painted wood courtroom jury chairs;
- remnant of the original judge’s desk, used to create the replica courtroom furniture;
- original carved and painted British coat of arms above the judge’s bench.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Province of New Brunswick

Recognition Statute

Heritage Conservation Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Heritage Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1966/01/01 to 1966/01/01
1909/01/01 to 1909/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Governing Canada
Security and Law

Function - Category and Type




Courthouse and/or Registry Office

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Branch - Site File

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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