Jemseg is in Queens County. It is located on the east bank of the Jemseg River along its short run from Grand Lake to the Saint John River. The village briefly served as the Capital of Acadia (1690–91).
Most “Jemsegers” live along the banks of the short, deep Jemseg River that flows from Grand Lake to the Saint John River. Locals speak of two villages, “Upper” and “Lower” Jemseg. Jemseg is probably the oldest name in Queens County. The name Jemseg is said to come from a Malecite word Ah-jem-sik, meaning “picking up place”, a reference to the trade that traditionally took place here during the pre-contact period and through both the English and French occupation of the area. The name is applied to what initially were two villages, Lower Jemseg and Upper Jemseg.
During the two plus centuries since the Loyalists came, the population has remained relatively stable with new arrivals mixing with the older settlers. Schools, stores and businesses have come and gone. Churches have been built. Saint James Anglican built in 1887 at Lower Jemseg is an architectural gem, typical of rural churches throughout the country.
Saint James Anglican Church is located in the Parish of Cambridge & Waterborough, the Diocese of Fredericton. Here are some of the church highlights:
- The foundation stone of red polished granite was laid on August 4, 1887.
- The first service was held in the church of Christmas Day, 1887.
- The church was consecrated by Bishop Medley in June 1889.
- Saint James is one of the few stone churches in rural New Brunswick.
- The church is built of local sandstone, gathered over a period of 2 years from fields around Dykeman Lake. Piling the stone, hauling it and assisting with the rough work was done by 10 families.
- Granite for the buttresses was donated from the quarry at Hampstead, and Caen stone from France left over from the construction of Christ Church Cathedral was given to decorate the window frames, doors and chancel arch.
- An interesting architectural feature is the small round window at the west end of the church called a “Lepers’ squint”.
- The land for the church was given by Mr. Samuel Scovil.
- The builders were Messrs. Cadwalleder and Cummings of Fredericton.
- In the 1891, a horse shed was erected, costing $40.00 to better enable attendance in the winter months.
- The present Women’s Institute Hall which you can see from the door of the church was the original Saint James Chapel of Ease. It was consecrated on July 3, 1849 and was moved from this site to make way for the present church in 1887.
While regular Sunday services are not held, but the church is still being used for special occasions.