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Spaniard's Bay United Church Registered Heritage Structure

Spaniard's Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2007/04/27

View of main facade with tower and of church grounds with large, mature trees growing there.  Photo taken October 17, 2006.; HFNL/ Deborah O'Rielly 2007
Spaniard's Bay United Church
View of stained glass window found at the rear of the church - located in the altar inside.  The window was donated by prominent community members.  Photo taken October 17, 2006; HFNL/ Deborah O'Rielly 2007
Stained glass window
View of the square tower with its steeply-pitched spire, Spaniard's Bay, NL. Photo taken October 17, 2007; HFNL / Deborah O'Rielly 2007.
Tower and steeple

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/07/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Spaniard’s Bay United Church, situated at 6 Church Hill, Spaniard's Bay, is a late 19th-century Gothic Revival wooden church building with a pointed spire and tower in which the main entrance is located. The church sits on a small plot of land encompassed by a picket fence, and a flagstone walled river flows next to the building. The designation encompasses the entire property delineated by a picket fence.

Heritage Value

The Spaniard’s Bay United Church has been designated for its historic and aesthetic values.

Spaniard’s Bay United Church is historically valuable due to its age and significance in the community as the first Methodist church in Spaniard’s Bay. Methodism was established in the community after a long and sometimes violent history and the congregation was spread out amongst the nearby towns. As the congregation continued to grow a larger church was required and in 1894 the Spaniard’s Bay United (then Methodist) Church was built at the foot of Church Hill by local builders and using timber salvaged from the original meeting house. Also historically valuable is the time capsule which was placed in the foundation at the time of construction. Inside it are copies of the Monthly Greeting (a church newsletter), church papers, an account of the cornerstone laying ceremony, a few coins of the colony and the names of the trustees. Spaniard’s Bay United Church was officially renamed from Methodist to United in 1925 when the United Church of Canada merged four Christian denominations, including Methodism, in Newfoundland.

Spaniard’s Bay United Church has aesthetic value as a good surviving example of vernacular Gothic Revival architecture in the area. Built with local materials this small chapel has a steeply pitched gable roof and a protruding tower with a tall spire at the gable end. Windows are arched in the Gothic Revival tradition and the front door, made of planks, is also arched. The tower is square and the spire that rises from its hipped roof is six-sided with a very steep peak. As this church was built as a replacement for an earlier building, some of the wood from the former was re-used. It is sheathed in narrow wooden clapboard, a traditional material in Newfoundland architecture. Several stained glass windows in the building bear the names of those community members who made the building a reality.

The church is also aesthetically valuable for its location. Situated on its original grounds, the tiny churchyard has large mature trees and a picket fence with an iron gate. Running alongside the church is a simple flagstone-walled stream once used for water in the chapel. These features give the church an aura of a time long ago, when religion was the pinnacle of the community. The location directly across the street from the Spaniard's Bay harbour also reminds one of a time when mariners determined oceanic locations by seeking church roofs and steeples as landmarks.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador meeting number 59, April 27, 2007.

Character-Defining Elements

All those elements that reflect the vernacular Gothic Revival style of architecture, including:
-use of traditional materials;
-wooden construction;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-remaining original materials recycled from the original meeting house;
-steeply pitched gable roof;
-arched, wooden windows and doors and their sizes, dimensions and locations;
-square tower with six-sided pointed spire;
-main entrance in tower;
-original stained glass windows; and
-location, orientation, dimensions and massing.

Those elements of the landscape, including:
-mature grounds encompassed by a picket fence;
-iron gate;
-mature foliage within the churchyard;
-flagstone-walled stream; and
-location on Church Hill, across the street from the ocean;



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type




Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, PO Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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