Wednesday Evening, July 17, 1940

St. Mary’s Church At Auburn
Observes 150
th Anniversary

click here for larger image
110 KB


Consecrated In 1790 By Rt. Rev. Charles Inglis, St.
Mary’s Has Historic Background Unequalled By
Any Anglican Church In Nova Scotia.

The one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the organization of St. Mary’s (Anglican) Church, Auburn, is now being observed. War conditions have precluded any extensive celebration, but when it is considered that it was founded under conditions similar to those today, when principles were at stake, it seems fitting that such an anniversary should be recognized. A simple celebration was held on Friday when a strawberry festival brought together a large number of the parishioners and friends.

In honor of the anniversary year the auditorium has been redecorated and presents a pleasing appearance. Upon the walls hangs the Coat of Arms of the diocese of Nova Scotia, designed and painted by Bishop Inglis. Also hanging is the Royal Coat of Arms, St. Mary’s being one of the few churches possessing the privileges of royal patronage, which includes the gowning of the choir and clergy in red cassocks and hats. At the east end of the chancel "The Lord’s Prayer" and "The Apostle’s Creed" are painted on the walls, while at the west end are to be found the Ten Commandments. In all these inscriptions the "f" is used for the "s".

Historic Background

The old church possesses many relics of historic interest. The pulpit Bible is a print of 1752, leather bound and in a good state of preservation. This was presented to St. Mary’s by Sir John Wentworth, Bart. The ancient and very valuable solid silver chalice and paten are still used in the Sacrament. Two old-fashioned collection boxes with long handles, used in the days when the pews were boxed in, are still preserved. The original deed of the church lands bears the signature no only of Bishop Inglis but also of Sir Brenton Halliburton, Chief Justice of Nova Scotia, and John Halliburton, his son with whom Joseph Howe once fought a duel, saving Halliburton’s life by discharging his pistol in the air. Another interesting memento is a memorandum book bound in brown paper which contains the minutes of a meeting held to discuss the erection of a church school and also an itemized account of the contributions.

Details of the erection of the church are very meager but it appears that it was built under the patronage of His Excellency, Hon. John Parr, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia. The original church building remains almost intact. It has been reinforced and repaired from time to time, but all through the building are to be found evidences of the draftsmanship of a century and a half ago. Hand-wrought iron spikes and nails, hand-hewn timbers, boards and laths. Shingles made of the heart of white pine, eighteen inches long and a half inch thick were used on the original building.

Inside the church there is a gallery around the auditorium and the narrow stairs leading to it shows signs of much use in the by-gone days. The chancel has been extended, but there still remains, despite modernization, many evidences of the original architecture fashioned after Sir Christopher Wren. The plaster on the walls was made from the shells of clams and mussels which were left by the unfortunate Acadian deportees who fled from the troops and made their way to Morden (formerly French Cross).

Consecrated in 1790

St. Mary’s Church was consecrated in 1790 by Rt. Rev. Charles Inglis, Bishop of Nova Scotia, and the first overseas Anglican Bishop. The bishop had been rector of Trinity Church, New York, and after the Revolution had fled to Nova Scotia, where he was among the foremost in the migration of the Loyalists. Handicapped by the rigors and hardships of the wilderness he attended to the tremendous labors of his vast diocese with courage and tenacity. He removed from Halifax to a grant of land at Auburn which he named "Clermont." The foundations of his home still remain.

Rev. J. Wiswell was the first rector, his incumbency lasting from 1783 until 1799. He was succeeded by Rev. John Inglis, son of Bishop Charles Inglis, who became the third Bishop of Nova Scotia; the tenure of his rectorship was 1801 to 1815. Other incumbents have been: Rev. E. Gilpin, 1816-1833; Rev. H. L. Owen, 1833-1852; Rev. Richard Avery, 1852-1887; Rev. T. R. Guillam, 1887-1888; Rev. J. M. C. Wade, 1888-1899; Rev. George Foster, 1899-1901; Rev. J. Simmons, 1901-1905; Rev. H. T. Parlee, 1905-1916; Rev. A. R. Yeoman, 1916-1919; Rev. W. T. Bridgeman, 1920-1928; Rev. C. M. Baird, 1928-1932; Rev. Ernest Caldwell, 1932-1937.

The present Rector is Rev. E. L. Tuck who entered upon the charge in July, 1937. The wardens are Messrs. H. H. Nichols and Clarence Keddy. Mrs. E. L. Tuck is superintendent of the Sunday School and Miss Doris Day is organist.

First Anglican Bishop To Canada

The founder of St. Mary’s Church, Rt. Rev. Bishop Charles Inglis, was one of the pioneers of the Anglican Church in the Valley and was the first Anglican Bishop in the overseas Empire. It can be said, too, that he was one of the pioneers in apple culture in the Valley. When the Bishop first came to Nova Scotia he made his home in Halifax, but was given a grant of land near Aylesford where he developed a considerable farm which he called "Clermont." Records state that he spent much of his leisure time among his trees and gave special attention to a variety of apple called a "Pippin" and it is understood that the "Bishop Pippin" got its name from the fruit which he brought to a greater degree of perfection.

Rt. Rev. Bishop Inglis was born in County Donegal, Ireland, in 1734, the son of Rev. Archibald Inglis, and about 1756 came to America to teach school at Lancaster, Penn.

Ordained by the Bishop of London, in 1758, he was from 1759 Missionary at Dover, Delaware, where he remained for five years, going in 1765 to the post of Assistant Rector of Trinity Church, New York.

From 1777 to 1783, during the troublous times of the American Revolution, Dr. Inglis was Rector of Trinity; and it was during his incumbency, that refusing to heed stern warnings, he said the prayers for the King, with General Washington and his staff in the congregation, and the church filled with armed members of the Rebel Army.

His, steadfast loyalty, however, made him a special target of rebel hatred, his property was confiscated, his living taken from him, and he and his wife, with prices upon their heads, were compelled to flee to England, where they were refugees until 1787, when he was consecrated First Bishop of Nova Scotia, with jurisdiction over the whole of British North America.

He died at "Clermont" in February, 1816 at the advanced age of 82 years, after fifty-eight years of ministry. He was buried under the chancel of St. Paul’s Church, Halifax. His funeral was attended by the Lieut. Governor, the members of His Majesty’s Government and all the most prominent citizens of the province.


Back