Around the parish - churches in Geraldine, South Canterbury, N.Z.

South Canterbury's Churches - expect to find them locked.               

Anglican  St Stephens in Mt Peel Village - on the way to Mt Peel Station - 22km north of Geraldine, west of Arundel.  Roy Miller window
                The Church of the Holy Innocents at Mt Peel Station.
                St. Thomas at Woodbury - there is a short cut over -the ford
                St. Mary's, Geraldine (closed)
                St Anne's, Pleasant Valley - on the way to Fairlie, turn right just past Speechly's bridge.   
                Holy Trinity, Orari was deconsecrated in 2011

Presbyterian - St. Andrew's   Roy Miller window.


The Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception

All three outdoor colour photos of the Geraldine Churches were taken on the same sunny day in 25 October 2005 by Garry Toomey.

On Peel Street, off Talbot Street, Geraldine.  It is a beautiful semi-Gothic building costing about £10,000 and was opened free of debt - a tribute to the generosity of the people of the county in 1935 and to the zeal of the zealous parish priests. The church seats 300 people comfortably and is beautifully decorated interiorly. The alter of Oamaru stone is a copy of the All Hallows College, Dublin. Reference: Daybreak by A.J. Davey.St Mary's Anglican Church and Vicarage on Talbot Street are both registered as category 2.  Historic place of historical or cultural heritage significance or value. An exterior of weathered Oamaru stone surrounds an ornate altar, with a frieze of the Last Supper and Stations of the Cross all carved from the same whitish stone.  Can seat up to 400 worshippers. Opened in Nov. 1936. "The building, which is executed in reinforced concrete and brick, presents a striking appearance against the delightful background of the Geraldine Native Bush Reserve."  Native bush can still be seen behind the church.  Previous Church

Father Henry George Bowers was parish priest from 1886 to 1889, then left the district for a time. He returned again as priest from 1892 to 1921. 

History of The Parish of The Immaculate Conception - Geraldine 

Leadlight window,RC Church, Geraldine. 

Leadlight windows differ from stained glass windows principally in being less complex in design, using simpler techniques and being far less expensive. While stained glass windows are found principally in churches, leadlight windows are common, and from 1860 to 1930 were a regular architectural feature in many houses, where their style is often a clue to the age of the building. Stained glass windows which are traditionally pictorial or of elaborate design, traditional leadlight windows are generally non-pictorial, containing geometric designs and formalised plant motifs.

The font in the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception.

Foundation stone.


Parson Laurence Lawson Brown
see full write up in Bain

Arrived in NZ in 1860 with his wife and five children on the "Harwood"  from England and settled in the 'Tripp Settlement' was a very energetic unofficial vicar, a 'farmer parson' and was instrumental in building St. Anne's in Pleasant Valley in 1862, St. Mary's in Geraldine, and St. Stephen in Peel Forest in 1868.  He conducted services in the community for a decade from 1862 and in 1864 conducted a school in the old survey hut of Samuel Hewlings in Geraldine. He was also a teacher at Washdyke School, opened a private day and boarding School in Heaton St., Timaru in 1876, and was schoolmaster at Burkes Pass and was also headmaster of the Summer School from 1883-1886.  In 1870 the dioceses were subdivided with Rev. James Preston appointed Mission Deacon of Temuka, Geraldine and curate of Burkes Pass. In 1878 subdivided again with the parish of Temuka and Pleasant Point being formed. He had a BA from Trinity College, Cambridge which he did before he came to NZ in 1860 and obtained his M.A. in Edinburgh in 1884. He had about ten appointments in NZ including Sydenham, Sumner and retired from St. Mary's at Haslwell in 1887. He moved to Edinburgh, SCT.  L.L. Brown returned from Edinburgh in Nov. 1892 with his wife Anne and daughter Margaret on the Ruapehu.  Some time in 1903 he left for Edinburgh with his daughter Margaret, where he lived until he died in 1906 aged 85.  Margaret died in Scotland in the 1960s.

Press, 15 May 1889, Page 3
Wellington, April 18. Sailed—New Zealand Shipping Company's R.M. S.S. Aorangi, for London. Passengers: Second Saloon—From Christchurch— Miss Gertrude Coward, Miss Amelia Coward, Miss Mary Coward, Rev. Laurence Brown, Mrs Brown, Miss Margaret Brown, Mr James Faber Brown, Mrs J. C. Maddison; Miss Laura Maddison, Miss J. Wakefield, Master E. H. Wakefield, Master Oliver Wakefield, Miss G. J. Wakefield, Miss Mildred Wakefield, Mr David Tibbott, Mrs Tibbott, Mr Joseph Murgatroyd, Miss Annie Murgatroyd, Mr Geo. Clark, Mr Francis J. Smith, Mrs Cuddlford, Mr Wm. Inglis. From Timaru — Mrs J. G. Dick, Master David Dick, Miss A. C. Dick, Master J. M. Dick. Steerage -From Timaru — Mrs Cuthbertson. From Christchurch — Mr Bernard Wiwitzoff, Mrs Wiwitzoff, Miss Gretcnen Wiwitzoff, Mr John Gammell. From Oamaru — Mr Wm. Girard. From Ashburton — Mr Michael Sullivan. From Lyttelton - Mr Hy. Tighe.

Parliamentary Return of Officiating Ministers 1862 Lawrence Lawson BROWN. This is the earliest entry for Laurence.
Electoral Roll 1865-66 Timaru BROWN, Laurence Lawson - Geraldine, freehold, Pt of 20 ac sec. adjoining Geraldine burial ground.
Electoral Roll Ashburton 1893 475 BROWN, Laurence Lawson, Halswell, clerk in holy orders, freehold, rural section 6578.
Electoral Roll -1893 Riccarton 374 - BROWN, Lawrence Lawson, Halswell, clerk in Holy Orders, residential.

Rev. Preston

Born 1834 in England, the s/o a clergyman came out to NZ in 1860 and took up a farm in North Canterbury.  He became a priest in 1872 and appointed to the large Geraldine Parish. Travelled over 100 miles on horseback monthly. His diaries are at the Canterbury Museum.  

Rev. George Foster

Came out with his wife and two sons from England was the first appointed full time clergyman for South Canterbury and served from 1861-1875. Buried in Geraldine. He travelled around the Anglican diocese on horseback. In 1875 Rev. Harper took over. 

Timaru Herald Sept., 1898.
FOSTER. On the 24th inst, at the residence of his son-in-law, Mr William Pearse, Maori Hill, Timaru, the Rev. George Foster, of Fernside, Hilton, and late of Timaru.

Timaru Herald Saturday 31 Jan. 1891 Marriage
PEARSE - FOSTER - On the 27th January, 1891, at the residence of the bride's father, William Sargent Pearse, of Washdyke, to Ada Mary, third daughter of the Rev. Geo. Foster, Hilton. [How is Wm related to Digory? Not a son.]

Richard William Pearse was born on 3 December 1877 at Waitohi Flat, Temuka, New Zealand, the fourth of nine children of Sarah Ann Brown and her husband, Digory Sargent Pearse (m. January 16 1871), a farmer.

Record Details: 	FOSTER, George 
Address: 		No plot record 
Age at Death: 		73 Years 
Date of Interment: 	09/27/1898 
Cemetery: 		Geraldine Cemetery 
Section:		Unknown, Block X, Plot 348  


Vicar John Hayhoe last service at Geraldine will be 10th September 2017 at the Holy Innocents Church at Peel Forest. He has been the vicar in Geraldine for 11 years.  He emigrated to in NZ in 2006 with his wife Kathryn, a midwife and their three children. He said parish ministry is interesting and challenging. He said retired vicars are expected to move out of the parish on retirement. A number of things have come together (like his his mother is aging) and he is going home to Upottery, Devon, England to live in a stone cottage on the family estate.  He also said Geraldine is an extraordinary little community from a cultural point of view. There is a wonderful community of artists. I think many New Zealanders would want to live here. It is a caring community which does accept newcomers as it has since the town was founded. Church attendance has risen since he has been here. St. Anne's has gone from 12 to 20. 

Vicar Tony Kippax, 30th May 2021 says stay at home. No church today. A few prayers would not go amiss..

St. Mary's has changed inside over the past 127 years. Pew at St. Mary's Geraldine. Photo courtesy of Margaret Todd, August 2009.
 The last pew! Chairs are now used at St. Mary's.

Timaru Herald, 8 May 1889, Page 4 PARISH MEETING.
Geraldine.  On last Thursday afternoon the annual Easter meeting of the parishioners of St. Mary's Anglican Church was held. The attendance was very sparse. The Rev. J. Preston, the incumbent, presided, and opened the proceedings with prayer and then read his report as follows:- Gentlemen, I consider that in spite of drawbacks and hindrances we are gradually progressing in every good work we have taken in hand in this parish, and the parochial district of Burke's Pass. Assisted by lay readers, Sunday services have been regularly kept up  during the past year in the 7 churches and 3 ,school houses where worship on the Lord's Day is usually held. The Sunday schools connected with St. Mary's, Geraldine, St, Thomas', Woodbury, St. St Stephen's, Peel Forest, and St. Ann's, Pleasant Valley, and that also carried on m the school house, Gapes' Valley, and the Union Sunday schools at Fairlie Creek and Burkes Pass, are continuing to do good work, and the attendance generally is on the increase. I find the work of the pariah year by year increasing, and as the population continues to multiply there will naturally arise a greater demand for closer parish work. Some people in the centres of population are ready crying out for changes. But l can see that as long as I have a district to work big enough to occupy the time of three ordinary clergymen, any attempt on my part to greatly alter the existing order of things will not tend to bring about any real good; it will rather have the effect of hindering me in my duties in the outlying portions of my parish and parochial district. I can see that it is impossible to carry out the work of a charge like mine after the manner of a closely worked English or town parish. If I had only one or two churches to officiate in, and a compact population to work amongst, and a compact population then matters would be different. As I am situated at present I am more a missioner than a parish clergyman. The time is coming, no doubt, when my present extensive charge  will be cut up into two or three parishes. Then each clergyman will arrange his own parish for the benefit of those who are in it. I thank God that I have never been without good men to assist me as lay readers, also that Sunday school teachers and other Church workers have always willingly and cheerfully given their services when required. If matters are not at present regulated to please everyone, still the work of God in the parish is not without substantial results, add there are few parishes in New Zealand where more unity and good-fellowship exist between the members of all Christian denominations. This I consider a good sign  spiritually. I propose making some alterations in my Sunday duties in order to provide for six services during the year in the  schoolhouse, Kakahu. The dates when I propose (D.V.) to hold service m the Kakahu Schoolhouse will be the 3rd Sunday in May, August, November, December, February, and March, at 3 p.m. I shall hold service also in St. Ann's Church, Pleasant Valley, every first Sunday in the month at 3 p.m., and in the schoolhouse, Gapes' Valley, every second Sunday in the month at 3 p.m I will continue to conduct the Bible class in the public school, Geraldine, twice a week from 9 am. to 9.30 a.m. The attendance is good. I have had 6 marriages, 76 baptisms, and 15 burials, during the year. The Sunday school library fund stands thus —I have collected the sum of £5 14s towards the purchase of new books, but as the sum is not quite large enough to send to England for fresh supply, I shall hold it in hand till those who have kindly consented to collect are able to add to the fund. As soon as it has increased a few pounds then I will procure the books. We are greatly indebted to Mrs Andrews for her valuable services as librarian. The Sunday school fund account is in a satisfactory state.... I tender my heartfelt thanks as clergyman of the parish to all the lay readers and Sunday school teachers and churchworkers for their able assistance m the work of the parish and parochial district over which I have charge. Without such help I feel that my own work would be to a great extent lost sight of.
     James Preston, Incumbent. May 3rd, 1889.

Mr H. W. Moore then read the churchwarden's report and balance sheet as follow. Gentlemen..—  Notwithstanding the following expenses incurred this year, viz. Organist £11 5s, ventilators for the church £9, protecting the bank of the river £l 5s, a total of £21 10s, we have a credit balance of 14s 2d, as against a former deficit of £2 10s 1d. This improved condition of affairs may be accounted for partly by a slight increase in the weekly offertories, combined with larger contributions from the other churches in the parish. With regard to this matter we hope a more systematic arrangement will shortly be made partly by the liberality of individuals and partly by the pew rents. As regards the weekly offertories, though there is a slight increase as compared with last year, yet they are far from satisfactory, as will be seen from the following figures:— The average offertory on a Sunday amounts to £2 Is 6d, as against £1 19s 6d last year the average attendance at a service is 73, this shows a weekly offering of a little over 3d per head at each service. When we take into consideration the amounts given weekly by some members, it must leave a large proportion of the congregation who give little or nothing. We consider that the majority of those who attend the church are well able to give more than they have hitherto done. We also consider the attendance, 73, small for this church. As regards private donations we have to thank Mr White for a clean receipt for a bill due to him amounting to £7 8s. We have also to thank Mr Postlethwaite for a donation of £5 towards the expenses of the organist. Also Mr Fyfe, who presented the church with a box to hold the communion plate. Also Mr Thomas Sherratt for some improvements to the organ. And we believe thanks are also due to Mr Brown for work done in the church for which apparently he does not intend to make any charge. As regards the pew rents, we think that it will be sufficient for us to state in this report that, though financially they have been successful, yet we do not think that they are in accordance with church principles and we believe that a large majority of the congregation are decidedly not in favour of the system, which system we think is calculated to do much harm, not only to our own church individually, but also to the church at large. Before concluding we wish to allude to a resolution unanimously adopted at a recent meeting of church officers m this parish, suggesting to the reverend the incumbent the appointment of district visitors, the adoption of which we consider to be highly beneficial to the parishioners, the district visitors, as well as those visited, as we are convinced that the lack of interest hitherto shown in connection with church matters has been largely due to the fact that the majority of members have had no opportunity of engaging in any church work. The more workers there are, the more progress will be made. We trust that the present year may bring increased attendance at church, larger offertories, and generally a more lively interest m church matters. Hoping that we have fulfilled our duties to your satisfaction, as by the grace of God we have endeavoured to do, we have the honour to be, gentlemen, your obedient servants,
Robert Fish, Churchwarden
 Henry W. Moore, Churchwarden Easter, April 21st, 1889.
    After a short discussion the report and balance sheet were, on the motion of Mr W. E. Barker, seconded by Mr Burtrum, adopted. The election of church officers for the ensuing year was next proceeded with, resulting as follows:
Incumbents' churchwarden, Dr Fish; parishioners' churchwarden, Mr H. W. Moore.
Vestrymen Messrs W. M. Moore, A. White, W. U. Slack, A. B. Hawkins, J. Pizzey, P. B.Bartrum, T. Sherratt. J. Kelland, J. W. Pye, and W. Willoughby.
Collectors— Messrs W. U. Slack, W. Hawke, F.R. Gillingham, C. G. Tripp, J. Acland, jun., Heskett, G. J. Dennistoun,  P. Bartrum, H. W. Moore, E. H. Templar, and L. Rooke.
Auditor— Mr H. B. Webster.
Treasurer of Stipend Fund— Mr W. B. Barker.  

Timaru Herald, 11 April 1891, Page 3 Parish meetings
Geraldine. On Thursday evening last the annual parish meeting was held m St. Mary's Anglican Church. Very few members were present. The incumbent, the Rev. Jas. Preston, presided, and read his report. Miss Alice Fish has consented again to act as organist. Special vote to Mrs Preston for her services as superintendent of the Sunday school. We have engaged Master Willie Berry as organ blower at a salary of 1s per week.

Timaru Herald, 10 October 1900, Page 2
The new vicarage at Geraldine will be opened to-morrow afternoon. The Rev. and Mrs Hamilton will be at Home from 2.30 until 5.30 p.m., and doubtless the kindly invitation extended will be accepted by all who can possibly attend, as it will not only enable them to see, the new building, but will be the means of passing a very pleasant and profitable afternoon.

Thames Star, 22 October 1909, Page 2
By a curious coincidence the gas in one of the Geraldine churches went out as the hymn 'Lead Kindly Light' was being sung on Sunday evening. Which reminds one of the incident (perfectly true) of the man walking out of Exeter Cathedral with his pipe pocket on fire as the choir was singing "'Sometimes a light surprises."  

Greatness in Glass
In 2008 Ken Hall wrote "With advice from Dr Fiona Ciaran (author of the outstanding Stained Glass Windows of Canterbury, New Zealand), and guided generously by the late Roy Entwistle, I received a personalised tour of extraordinary artworks in stained glass, often in remote locations. Shining treasures came alive when studied, every nuance of light and colour shifting when viewed from every different angle. From these visits I gained as much pleasure as I have experienced in any art gallery anywhere in the world. "

Roy Caird Entwistle (21 Oct. 1924 in Christchurch -11 March 2004)
Roy was a Flying Officer 1939-1945 with the RNZAF. He was a lay reader at St Mary’s Church in Geraldine, an art teacher and deputy principal at Geraldine High School and a talented stained glass artist. Roy designed five stained-glass windows for Geraldine churches and made three of them at his Geraldine studio- one for St. Stephen's Church, Peel Forest and two for St. Mary's, Geraldine. Roy loved Geraldine, history and his church and was working on a book when he died at age 79. Works by Joseph Nuttgens Veronica Whall, Karl Parsons (1884-1934) and Stephen Belanger Taylor (1940 -2009) are found in the Geraldine parish churches. A book detailing the 24 stained glass windows in Geraldine's five parish churches was launched in Nov. 2012 and covers windows installed from 1889 to 2007 with a chapter on the restoration of the Acland window at Holy Innocents' Church, Mt. Peel by stained glass artist and conservator Graham Stewart, it was a massive effort that was completed in June 2012. Stained Glass of Geraldine Parish, by the late Roy Entwistle and edited and brought up to date by Anthony Entwistle, his son. Copies of this 182 page book are available from St. Mary's Church office for $35 or email [email protected]  Roy also did the cover design for the book Hearts, Hands and Voices in 1974, a sketch of the mother church in Geraldine.

 Geraldine 1st Jan. 1866. Photo taken by Dr. A.C. Barker.

The first church was between St Mary’s church the Vicarage and a bit closer to the river.  I don’t see Hewling's Bark Hut from this angle. It would be obscured by the church with a picture taken from this angle. 

The former St Mary's Church Vicarage, a category two listed heritage building that was built in 1900 in the English arts and crafts style, will be transformed into boutique accommodation overlooking the Waihi River, Michael Barker said in Feb. 2019.

The Anglican Parish of Geraldine private blog.

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