Base Gagetown Community  History Association




Coote Hill Churches
Queens County, New Brunswick
by Frank C. Queen

Coote Hill, was a community with two churches, the Church of England sitting at the top of the Headline Hill, and located a mile south, across from the school, the Methodist, following church union in 1925, the United Church of Canada.

Architecturally they had nothing in common, except that each had similar design horse sheds, divided into stalls, with one stall reserved for the minister, in which to leave the horses during services.

In 1786 by an Act in Parliament, The Church of England was declared the established church in New Brunswick, and in 1791, a marriage act passed naming the clergy of the Church of England, as the only people allowed to perform marriages. If none were available, a Justice of the Peace could officiate. This act was abolished in 1834.

The legislation is no doubt why the Church of England was the first to be established in Coote Hill, and the reason the land given as one of the original grants, to be known as St. Peters Church.

The church was located on an exposed site, atop the highest hill in the area. Construction was slow. In 1835 only the frame existed, by 1840 the church was completed. By 1866 it had fallen into disrepair.

In 1870 a new church was constructed on the same site, and was seventy two feet long and twenty three feet wide, with a seating capacity of three hundred. This new church was consecrated in 1872.

Two circular wood stoves provided the heat on Sundays, the remainder of the week the church was unheated.

Prior to 1845, services were held by laymen or the occasional visiting clergy.

Rev. Joseph Bartholomew, became the first rector in 1846, to stay for ten years, to be followed by Rev. Gilbert Wiggins, for two years, and Rev. John Armstrong for a short period in 1859.

In 1867 Rev. C. R. Matthews arrived, to be followed in 1872 by Rev. James Sheraton for a short period, and in 1874 Rev. Joseph Smith became the rector till 1881. followed by Rev. F. Towers and Rev. W. H. Street.

Rev. W. B. Armstrong served from 1891 to 1902, to be succeeded by Rev. R. W. Colston, Rev. W. M. Whitely, Rev. David Jenidns, Rev. Joseph Prescott, Rev. J. R. Belyea and Rev. R. E. J. Britton, who served the longest from 1928 to 1951.

The last rector, Rev. Basil Buckland, conducted the final service in the church on September 13, 1953.

The members decided, in order to preserve as much of the Church, as possible, that the fixtures and sacraments should be donated to other churches. A new church was being constructed at Wickham, NB, to bear the same name, St. Peters. This new church received
windows, doors and pews. Other churches to receive items were; pews to St. James. at Browns Flats, and to St. Lukes in Welsford, the brass alter cross and numerous other valuables, including the ninth eight hundred dollars received as compensation from the Federal

What remained of the eighty three year old church was finally completely torn down by the military.

The Methodist Church was constructed in 1845, chiefly through the efforts of James Graham, (1806-1882), was rebuilt by William White in 1882, the reason for a new church is unknown.

In 1855 Thomas Cooey and James Graham were appointed the first Chapel Stewards.

In 1873 the Methodist established a Home Mission Charge at Welsford, at which time Coote Hill became part of this new five church circuit, that also included Armstrong's Corner, Patterson and Juvenile. Prior to this, these five churches were part of the Jerusalem Charge, which also included, Jones Creek, Clones, Olinville and Summer Hill.

Church services were held every second Sunday on the new charge, rotating between morning and evening, with services every Sunday at Welsford.

Oil lamps, having replaced candles, were being used when electricity arrived. The electrician agreed to wire the church free of charge, depending on receiving the contract to wire a certain number of homes. The existing ceiling lights were converted to electric.

A pump organ supplied the music for the services, in later years the organists were Eva (Queen) Hasson, Florence (Pond) Graham and Gladys (Hamilton) Woods.

Ministers to serve the community prior to 1886 were; Rev. David Jennings, Rev. William Allen, Rev. Charles W. Dockrill, Rev. Lewis Johnson, Rev. A.E.L. Page, Rev. John Boxendale and Rev. Elias Stockford. From 1886 until the final service the Ministers were; 1887-1889 Rev. W. H. Spargo, 1889-1892 Rev. John Estey, 1892-1895 Rev. William Wass, 1895-1900 Rev. A. D. McCulley, 1900-1901 Rev. Henry Penna, 1901-1904 Rev. Artemas Bell, 1904-1908 Rev. John
Pinkerton, 1908-1908 Rev. L. N. Parker, 1908-1909 Rev. J. Spencer Crisp, 1909-1912 Rev. John K. King, 1912-1916 Rev. J. Spicer Gregg, 1916-1920 Rev. A. Eugene Chapman, 1920-1924 Rev. Ernest Rowlands, 1924-1920 Rev. L. J. Wason, 1929-1934 Rev. Christopher Graham, 1934-1940 Rev. R. Harry Baxter, 1940-1945 Rev. B. E. Carew, 1945-1947 Mr. Lewis W. Wood, 1947-1949 Rev. Arthur F. Whiston, and 1949-1953 Rev. Donald A. Sharp.

Following the final service, each member received one of the churches hymn books. The pews went to the United Church in Bloomfield, NB, only to be sold when this church closed. Other
pews and fixtures were given to various other churches. The war memorial plaque was placed in the United Church in Welsford, only to be lost when the church was destroyed by fire.