The Heritage Corner, Springhill Record

April 16, 2006

April 16, 2006 - The All Saints Anglican Church

In 1873 the first Church of England was built on the Brundage property in Miller Corner. At that time it was included in the Amherst Parish under Canon Townsend. When the mines opened and they found they were far from the main part of the newly built town, the little church was dismantled and rebuilt on Main Street were the present Anglican Church now stands. The Church was small but similar in shape of today’s Church. There was a tall steeple above the entrance porch and the pews were solidly built with high elaborate sides. Rev. E.H. Ball of Maccan was the Minister.

In 1881 the Church of England became separate from Amherst , under Bishop Binney, with Rev. Ball becoming its first Rector. Rev. C.E. McKenzie was the next Rector from 1883-1886. It was during this time that a rectory was built. It was built near where the Soldiers Monument now stands. When the gothic style rectory was finished a housewarming was held in it. It was a tea for the Sunday school children and was well attended. The Rectory was a tall house with steep gables. It had dormers and gables and many marble fireplaces. It was later moved to Lorne Street where it was used as a two storey house.

In 1886 Rev. Charles Wilson became the Rector. He had plans to promote, finance and built a new Parish House, Anglican Church and a Hospital in Springhill. In 1891 the little church was torn down and the services were held in the Pioneer Hall across the street where the Library is today. The Parish House was the first to be constructed. It was a large two storey building with an auditorium, recreation rooms and school rooms. It was finished and opened Christmas Day in 1891 and services were then held in it until the church was completed.

The New All Saints Church was built by Rhodes and Curry of Amherst with Mr. Rowe as the contractor and William Critchlow Harris as the designer. Harris was one of the most talented architects in Canada at that time and many of his churches, dwellings and public buildings can be seen throughout Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island . He believed that architecture must not only be beautiful but also functional. The cornerstone was laid by the Right Rev. F.C. Courtney, Bishop of Nova Scotia. The new Church was opened on All Saints Day November 1, 1892 . The Church was consecrated on the day it was opened as it was debt free. The interior has a rib vaulted ceiling of the chancel which reflects sound out of the nave. It has good acoustics, broad sanctuary, elevated altar and processional aisles and there is plenty of room for the choir and also for an orchestra. Although most of Harris’s churches were designed with stone in mind, All Saints Church is a frame building built entirely of wood, which came from Claremont , from a tree which was located by Robert Dickson. Its value at the time was $2,000. A long enough piece of timber, that size, cannot be found around here today.

For many years All Saints Church had an orchestra organized by Moses Jones who was the conductor. Other members included James Hargreaves, George Jones, Sidney Bainbridge, John Armishaw, Jenkin Morgan, James Davis, Victor Pugh, John Hargeaves, Rupert Frye and Miss L. Pugh.

The first marriage held in the church was William H. Davis and Emily Jean Fear on January 27, 1894 , by the Rev. W. Charles Wilson.

The first Sunday school teachers were Miss L. Hayward, Miss Ancient, Miss Humphries and Miss Pugh.

Rev. W.C. Wilson resigned his rectorate in 1899 to devote his time to the new Hospital. He was followed by Rev. William A Debrisay who served until his death in 1905. In 1907 Rev. Robert Norwood , DCL, was Rector until 1909. Rev. G.A. Harrison was Rector from 1921 until 1937 and at that time he was appointed Archdeacon of Prince Edward Island. Rev. William M Knickle was the rector for many years. The last Rector was Rev. Frank Likely who retired in 2005. His successor has not yet been decided and the Rev. Glen Eason, of Amherst , is administering to the people of All Saints Church.