A 1749 Halifax Landmark for Travel Photo Thursday

Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in Canada, Destinations, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Travel Photo Thursday | 17 comments

Walk to the corner of Spring Garden Road and Barrington Street, and it’s safe to that you are in one of the most historical parts of Halifax. On your right is the Old Burial Ground, and directly across the street you have St. Matthew’s United Church founded in the same year as Halifax, 1749, and the oldest United Church in Canada. That’s where I am taking you today, on week 204 (December 4, 2014) of Travel Photo Thursday.

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The church that stands today, an outstanding example of Gothic Revival architecture, is not the original, which burnt to the ground on January 1st, 1857.

 

St. Matthew's United Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia

St. Matthew's Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia

There is nothing pretentious about the interior. I’m not sure that I’d want to sit in one of those pews for very long. However, had you been a wealthy member of the congregation back in the 1700s, the best pews rented for the tidy sum of $144.00 annually. You would have also found the church to be unheated. Church goers wore so many layers that it was next to impossible for them to walk. Wealthy church goers had their servants carry in iron foot warmers with live coals!  If you believe the historical lore, there were three female parishioners  who brought their fat poodles to service to use as foot warmers. In 1795, to I am sure the relief of much of the congregation,  a stove was finally installed.

 

Inside St. Matthew's United Church

 

You will find some outstanding stained glass…

 

Stained Glass in St. Matthew's

 

The church boasts a Casavant pipe organ, originally installed in 1921, and totally refurbished in 1998. Music continues to play an important role in the church. In addition to Sunday services, there are regular concert performances.

 

St. Matthew's Pipe Organ

 

Taken from the churches website…

Plain Jane

“The choir sang in the gallery and was trained by Mr. Henry Hill. He had three beautiful daughters who were good singers, and also Jane, who was not beautiful and who could not sing. The minister then was a young bachelor who admired one of the trio of beautiful singers to such an extent that he often gave out the hymn beginning “Unto the hills around do I lift up my longing eyes.” The congregation enjoyed such moments, but Henry Hill frowned on the young man, who was not highly paid. One summer evening, Mr. Hill dozed through the sermon, began dreaming, and was nudged awake as the hymn was once more announced. In his fuddled state he shouted: “It’ll be Jane or none!”

 

Travelers Tip

St. Matthew’s has regular Sunday worship, including Sunday School. The church is also open to visitors on week days (free to enter).

St. Matthew’s United Church of Canada
1479 Barrington Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 1Z2
Tel: (902) 423-9209
Fax: (902) 423-2833
E-mail: [email protected]

St. Matthews United Church, Halifax, N.S.

St. Matthews United Church, Halifax, N.S.

 

This is the 204th edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.

 

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17 Comments

  1. What a beautiful church with lovely architecture. I work in “Halifax” industrial area – but it is not in Canada and it doesn’t have a church.
    Happy travels and thank you again for hosting.

    • Hi Jill. HaHa…shows are British roots!

  2. St Mathew’s looks like a gorgeous church. I love wandering around churches and cathedrals given half a chance. I loved the story about the minister nodding off and waking with a start!

    • Hi Johanna. Agree, churches are great places to wander through.

  3. Beautiful architecture… I love the colorful stained glass.

  4. They are beautiful stained glass windows Nancie. Those old timers in the congregation paid well for their uncomfy pews! It is beautiful from the outside.

    • Hi Jan. I was amazed at how much they charged for pew rental!

  5. Churches really have some of the most amazing architecture and interior décor. I never pass up an opportunity to photograph a beautiful church and have a wander inside if able. This one in Halifax is particularly beautiful with an interesting history.

    • Hi Kathy. I’m with you. Settled by the British, Halifax has its fair share of historical churches.

  6. I love churches like these. It may not be as ornate as those European ones but I love its rich history. That would have been quite a scene to see with all those people and their layers during service. I can’t get over how much those pews went for. beautiful stained glass windows!

    • Hi Mary. I read that the parishioners could barely walk because of all the layers. Can you imagine how happy they were when the church installed a stove?! 🙂

  7. One can easily underestimate the New World when it comes to things like churches because they can’t possibly be as old or grand as the churches in Europe. But you can find impressive churches big and small, and sometimes in the most unlikely of places.

    • Hi Eileen. That’s so true. Having been settled by the British with such a strong Christian influence, there are quite a number of historical churches in Halifax.

  8. The church is so pretty, but I’m not sure if the stained glass would be enough to keep me distracted from the cold in the pre-stove days. I like authentic pipe organs and wished when I was growing up that my childhood church didn’t just have a “fake” one with synthesized pipe organ sounds. That story about Plain Jane is a hoot.

    • Hi Michele. I am with you there. I hate the cold, and it would take a lot more than a stained glass window to keep me distracted. Pipe organs are nice!

  9. Wow. The pipe organ it’s amazing. The church windows are breathtaking. Great post.

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