In May 1783, the Loyalists aboard the “Good Ship Union” arrived at Partridge Island near Saint John Harbour. A couple of days later, they journeyed up the St. John River to establish their new township at Kingston, carrying with them only their limited possessions. They faced uncertainty upon seeing groups of Indigenous people on the bluffs; however, the Mi’kmaq turned out to be friendly and greatly assisted the Loyalists.
These early settlers, defined by their resilience and determination, endured numerous hardships. Their faith in God sustained them, and many of the buildings they constructed in those early years still stand and are occupied by their direct descendants.
Upon arriving in Kingston, the Loyalists prioritized building a church. Before drawing lots or constructing homes, they designated an acre from each of the first four corner lots for the church and reserved Lot Number One on the west side for the parsonage.
In 1788, the first rector, Rev. James Scovil, began constructing the parsonage, primarily at his own expense and with some assistance from the community. The parishioners, eager to build their church without waiting for government grants, decided to use their own resources.
On June 27, 1789, the parishioners’ dedicated efforts led to the completion and erection of the framework for Trinity Church, the first Anglican Church in New Brunswick. Rev. James Scovil dedicated the church for Divine Service on November 5, 1789, and on August 8, 1792, the Rt. Rev. Charles Inglis consecrated Trinity Church, which became “the root from which all other churches in the country have sprung.”
Over the years, the Trinity Anglican Church building has undergone numerous modifications. In July 1809, a steeple was built on the ground and raised into position using an “Egyptian Style” technique. A chancel was added in 1811, and in 1813, a group of gentlemen from Saint John donated a 129-pound bell. In 1833, the vestry allocated funds to construct a vestry room. In 1852, a comprehensive enlargement and improvement project was carried out, costing nearly $4,000. On Easter Monday of the same year, the church unanimously agreed to install an organ in the gallery.
Built in England in 1785 by W.H. Hedgeland, the organ in Trinity Church is Canada’s oldest functioning pipe organ. It was brought to Kingston and installed in the church in 1852. The builder’s name and organ’s age were discovered during a complete overhaul in 1975.
The first Confirmation took place on July 29, 1809, when Bishop Inglis confirmed a class of 257 candidates—the largest class ever confirmed in New Brunswick. The church celebrated its 125th anniversary on June 25, 1914, with a congregation so large that it nearly filled the church to capacity.
Constructed in 1991, the Kingston Parish Hall is now a popular venue for the entire Kingston community. One of its most interesting features is the fieldstone fireplace dedicated to Joe Steele’s memory. The hearthstone, sourced from one of Kingston’s oldest buildings, prominently displays the inscription “W.B. (for Walter Bates), Est. 1807.”
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