St-Matthew's Episcopal Church in 2001
(View from the road)
St-Matthew's Episcopal Church (also known as Edwardstown Anglican Church) is located on Rte 209 about 2.7km (1.7mi) NE of the Village of St-Chrysostôme in the southwest region of Quebec. It is part of the Hemmingford-Clarenceville Anglican Parish of the Anglican Church of Canada, Diocese of Montreal.
It was originally established in the 1840s to serve the English and Irish settlers in the area around the present day Municipality of
St-Chrysostôme.According to Sellar's History1, two decades before this, protestant religious services were held in a school house about a mile further north on the same road. The land for this school had been donated by John Severs with the stipulation that it also be used as a community burying ground and the school would be available for use by any protestant denomination for their services. However, in the mid 1840s, the then majority catholic school commissioners appropriated the school for their use and banned its religious use by the protestant community. It is possible that the need for a place of worship, was the impetus for the establishment of St-Matthew'sEpiscopal Church as the majority of protestants in the area were old country Anglicans.
In the 20th century, the number of parishioners dwindled but the church continued to hold annual services until 1985. That year vandals damaged the building and stole many of its furnishings. As the result, the building has been boarded up to protect what remains. Pity, since the building has great architectural character being an early example of the "Revivalist Gothic Style". Since 1985, the annual services have continued to be held in an alternate venue.
The cemetery is located on the north side of the church (see church property map), with its monuments generally facing East. The monument locations are shown on the cemetery map. It is not known what happened to the burials on the earlier school ground but there is no sign of any cemetery on that land today. The burials in the present church yard probably started at the same time as the church was built in 1847. The earliest inscription dates on the monuments are from the early 1840s but they could have been memorials to burials elsewhere.
The condition of the cemetery today is quite good in spite of considerable vandalism in the past decades. This is mainly due to a generous bequest that insured the funds would be available to maintain the cemetery in the future. The present caretaker, Mr. Gordon Stacey and his family of
St-Clotilde QC,are responsible for keeping the cemetery and church grounds in good condition.
The inscriptions listed in this site were first recorded by Mrs. Marilyn Stacey and her sister-in-law, Barbara Stacey, in the summer of 2001. I verified them personally and used chalk to enhance some of the early marble stone inscriptions that had become virtually illegible or subject to misinterpretation.
In addition to recording and publishing the inscriptions, I have taken a complete set of digital photographs of all the remaining stones. These have been stored on CDRom for archival purposes. If you have interest in a particular monument, contact me and I will provide a JPEG image of the stone by e-mail attachment.
The names showing on the inscriptions have been indexed with links to the actual text of the inscription:
Or go direct to the
1/ The History of the County of Huntingdon and of the Seigniories of Chateauguay & Beauharnois, Robert Sellar, Huntingdon (QC), 1888, revised edition 1963 (reprinted 1995 by Chateauguay Valley Historical Society) pg 521-2.
2/St-Matthew's Episcopal (Edwardstown Anglican) Cemetery (St-Chrysostôme, QC) Monument Inscription List, Burton Lang, 2002 ISBN 0-9689093-5-3
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