poetry and prose about place

restoring an old church

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For some time now, as part of my duties on the Vestry of our church, I have been involved in discussions about the future of a very old church in our community.


St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in New Maryland, New Brunswick (Photo credit: Hughes)


St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church in New Maryland, New Brunswick was built in 1863 and is a small wooden Gothic Revival church designed by Rev. Edward S. Medley as part of his architectural program.



In recognition of its history and architecture, the church is listed as a Protected Historic Site under the Heritage Conservation Act. It is considered to be one of the finest Medley-inspired, Neo-Gothic, wooden churches in New Brunswick. The designation has this to say about the church …


The Church of St. Mary the Virgin Provincial Heritage Place is significant because of its association with the Neo-Gothic architectural programme of Anglican priest-architect Rev. Edward S. Medley and, his father, Bishop John Medley. Here the two Medleys have collaborated to render a diminutive, wooden, mid-Victorian church-building translated from more formal stone compositions in England dating back to the Middle Ages. Designed by Rev. Edward S. Medley in 1863 and completed the following year, this church was consecrated by Bishop John Medley. It serves as a noteworthy example of the more than 100 Neo-Gothic churches erected in New Brunswick during the 47 year episcopate of John Medley (1845-1892).

Inspired by other much larger church buildings of the Gothic manner, St. Mary the Virgin reflects a dramatic emphasis on exterior vertical lines reaching upward along the walls of the building, ending in a distinctive bell turret. This verticality is accentuated further by board-and-batten exterior construction punctuated frequently in the architectural pattern by the characteristic pointed arch motif over windows, doorways and gables.


The old church is closely surrounded by a cemetery and has been important to the community as a place of worship, family life, weddings, baptisms, and burials for well over 100 years. Since a new church was built in 1987, the old church has aged and weathered. Although repairs are needed, restoration is possible and a number of options have been suggested for its reuse.


(Photos of the stained glass windows in the church are by John Leroux and are used with permission)


If you are interested in hearing more about this church and following along as a new future for the church is imagined and realised, you can join the Facebook Group ‘Friends of the Historic New Maryland Church’. I hope to see you there!


Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

November 13, 2017 at 11:32 am

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