September 6, 1939

Wednesday Evening, September 6, 1939
The Register

Will Celebrate 150th Anniversary In 1940

There is a picture of the church here

St. Mary’s Church (Anglican), Auburn, is the third oldest church in the Nova Scotia diocese, having been consecrated by Bishop Charles Inglis, the first bishop of Nova Scotia in 1790. St. Paul’s, Halifax, was established as the first parish in Canada in 1759 and that of St. John’s, Lunenburg, dates back to 1766. The history of St. Mary’s is an interesting one and is linked with the epic story of the coming of the United Empire Loyalists, the first rector having been appointed in 1783. It is closely associated with the ministry of Bishop Charles Inglis, the story of whose labors is one of great courage and devotion, as with the immigration of Loyalists, an avalanche of problems fell to his lot in the new land. With an almost entire lack of communication or transportation he was handicapped in the visitation of this large diocese. However he carried out a program of church building, drawing the plans for nearly all the twenty-nine churches he built in the Maritime Provinces, including St. Mary’s. Bishop Inglis took up residence in August 1796 at a place on "Aylesford Plain" which he called "Clermont". The Bishop moved from Halifax on account of the uncongenial climate.

The old church contains a number of relics of early days, one of which is the original deed of church lands at Auburn which bears the signature of Bishop Inglis and is dated 15th February, 1805. Details about the building of the church are very meager but it appears that it was erected under the patronage of His Excellency, Hon. John Parr, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia. The original church building remains almost intact. It has been reinforced and repaired from time to time but all through the building are to be found tokens of the craftsmanship of a century and a half ago. Hand-wrought iron spikes and nails, hand-hewn timbers, boards and laths. Shingles made of the heart of white pine, eighteen inches long and a half inch thick were used on the original building.

Evidences Of Original Architecture

Inside the church there is a gallery around the auditorium and the narrow stairs leading to it show signs of much use in the days gone by. The chancel has been extended, but there still remains, despite modernization, many evidences of the original architecture fashioned after Sir Christopher Wren. The old pulpit with its sounding board has disappeared and in its place one of simple design has been placed. The pews were originally boxed in with doors but these have all been changed. The pipe organ is an old one and is Gothic in style. It was purchased in Boston, Mass., about 1861 and for thirty years was located in the gallery.

Hanging in the church are to be seen the Coat of Arms of the diocese of Nova Scotia, designed and painted by Bishop Inglis. The Royal Coat of Arms also hangs upon the wall, St. Mary’s being one of the few Canadian churches possessing the privileges of royal patronage. At the east end of the chancel on the walls have been painted "The Lord’s Prayer" and "The Apostle’s Creed," while on the walls at the west end of the church are to be found "The Ten Commandments." In all these inscriptions the old-time manner of using "f’s" for "s’s" is used.

The pulpit Bible is a print of 1752, leather bound and is in a good state of preservation. On the fly-leaf is to be found an inscription: "This Bible and prayer book were presented to St. Mary’s by Sir John Wentworth, Bart." There is no date with the inscription, but undoubtedly it is very old. The communion service includes solid silver chalice and paten. The original collection boxes are still preserved. They are small wooden boxes with very long handles which could be extended the full length of the pew when the box pews were in existence.

Interesting Memento

Another very interesting memento is a memorandum book bound in brown paper and dated 18th March, 1833, which contains the minutes of a meeting held to discuss the erection of a church school and also an itemized account of the contributions. A contract was entered into with Amos Patterson of Aylesford, for the building of the schoolhouse at a cost of one hundred and thirty pounds, finding the timber, lumber, lime and brick. Nails, glass and paint were provided by the Lord Bishop of Nova Scotia and locks, bolts, hinges were to be found by the building committee. The size of the schoolhouse was thirty by forty feet with twelve foot posts.

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An excerpt from the minutes follows: "That a schoolhouse be built in the immediate vicinity of the church, capable of containing two hundred and fifty scholars, and of supplying an additional room to be appropriated to a library which is now forming; and that the uses to which the said schoolhouse shall be applied, be restricted to purposes of instruction and to such parochial meetings as are in unison with the spirit which prompted and suggested the present undertaking."

Many Incumbents

Rev. J. Wiswell was the first rector, his incumbency lasting from 1783 until 1799. He was succeeded by Rev. John Inglis, son of Bishop Charles Inglis, who became the third Bishop of Nova Scotia tenure of his rectorship was 1801 to 1815. Other incumbents have been: Rev. E. Gilpin, 1816-1833; Rev. H. L. Owen, 1833-1852; Rev. Richard Avery, 1852-1887; Rev. T. R. Guillam, 1887-1888; Rev. J. M. C. Wade, 1888-1899; Rev. George Foster, 1899-1901; Rev. J. Simmons, 1901-1905 Rev. H. T. Parlee, 1905-1916; Rev. A. R. Yeoman, 1916-1919; Rev. W. T. Bridgeman, 1920-1928; Rev. C. M. Baird, 1928-1932; Rev. Ernest Caldwell, 1932-1937.

The present Rector is Rev. E,. L. Tuck who entered upon the charge in July, 1937. The wardens are Messrs. H. H. Nichols and Clarence Keddy. The 150th anniversary of St. Mary’s Church will be celebrated in 1940.