November 26, 2022


St. John’s Stone Church Saint John

St. John’s Stone Church Saint John

St. John’s Stone Church  Saint John familiarly called “the stone church” was designated a National Historic Site in 1987 because it is one of the earliest and best examples of a Gothic Revival church, in the Romantic phase, in Canada. 

There are more than 800 national historic sites in Canada. 58 are in New Brunswick, and 13 of those 58 can be found in Saint John. The majority of these historic sites date from the nineteenth century and show the origins of the culture that makes Saint John unique. 

St. John’s Stone Church Saint John

Part of this culture is loyalty to a British heritage and evidence of this loyalty can be found in Stone Church. It was named a Garrison Church in 1824, when the Lieutenant-Governor donated £600 to help defray the cost of building. The church is still used by the military to this day for special church services. Since then, the church has maintained its connections to England and the Church of England. The Linking Stone, set in the Chancel arch, is a piece of Caen stone which once formed part of the chancel of St. Andrew’s Church, Steyning, Sussex, England. The stone thus forms a link between St. John’s Church and the Church of our forefathers in ancient Britain. There is still a pew in the church that is reserved as the Garrison Officers’ Pew, and the royal coat of arms still hangs from the balcony. 

St. John Stone Church, Saint John
St. John Stone Church, Saint John 1890’s
The wood carvings in Stone Church represent some of the most unique and beautiful nineteenth and early twentieth century wood-work in Canada. The font cover, the pew ends and the wall carvings are all examples of this creative Canadian tradition. Of the many different carvings in the church, the Holy Communion Table and the Rector’s Stall are the best known. 
St. John’s Stone Church Saint John

St. John’s Stone Church reflects the earliest phase of the Gothic Revival in Canada, a transitional phase between the classical tradition and revived Gothic architecture, known as Romantic Gothic Revival. Built in 1823-6 to designs by John Cunningham, St. John’s is typical of the Romantic Gothic Revival style in its use of the forms and composition of 18th century classicism, over which Gothic embellishments have been applied. St. John’s is one of the earliest manifestations of this style in Canada. 

St. John’s Stone Church Saint John

The St. John’s Stone church includes a chancel built in 1872 to designs by local architect Matthew Stead, which follows a later, more historically correct phase of the Gothic Revival, known as Ecclesiological Gothic Revival. 

Resources: St. John’s Stone Church

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One thought on “St. John’s Stone Church Saint John

  1. I am doing research on an Anglican clergyman, the Revd Pelham Williams who
    may have been rector of St John’s, New Brunswick about 1888. He had been rector
    of St Barnabas Church, Troy, New York from 1879 until he resigned 14th May 1888.

    Is there a list of Rectors of St John’s which may shed light on this?
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely, Steven Haws

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