Friar’s Cove is located approximately 1.6 kilometres south of Rocky Point, Harbour Breton, NL. Red granite sea stacks, known locally as “friars,” mark the entrance to the cove which is only accessible by small crafts. The designation is confined to that piece of land known locally as Friar’s Cove.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Friar’s Cove has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Harbour Breton because of its historic, cultural and aesthetic value.
Friar’s Cove has historical significance due to its connection with the loss of the two-masted sailing vessel Resolute of Jersey. The Resolute was built in 1877 at the island of Jersey by Thomas Le Huguet of St. Catherine’s Bay, Jersey and was owned by Capt. George Noel of St. Martin, Jersey. The vessel was over twenty-four metres long and almost six metres wide. On August 29, 1905, while sailing from St. John’s to Belleoram in Fortune Bay, the Resolute was caught in a violent hurricane and wrecked at Friar’s Cove. The Evening Post of Saturday, September 2, 1905 stated that the Resolute was completely broken up and its timbers reduced to matchwood in less than twenty-four hours. At the time of the mishap there were five registered crewmembers onboard, four from Jersey and one Russian. The master was 33 year old P.F. Misson of Jersey. Novice cook Sydney Hotton, aged 17 years, drowned in the mishap. The only remains of the ship are some ballast rocks and the vessel’s brass bell with the inscription “Resolute 1877 Jersey.” A nearby sunken rock is called Resolute Rock but is also sometimes referred to as Whaleback Rock.
Friar’s Cove has further historic value due to its association with Dr. Conrad Fitz-Gerald, a Newman & Company doctor. During the thirty years he spent in Harbour Breton in the late 1800s, Dr. Fitz-Gerald frequented the cove on many occasions. He would enter the cove in a small dingy, which was probably the life boat from his yacht the Albatross. He would climb to the top of the first friar, a height of approximately six metres, and dive into the saltwater. He continued this practice until he got up in age and the shock of the cold water became too strenuous.
Friar’s Cove has cultural value as it is an example of how local nomenclature affects the naming of geographical features. “Friar” is a word used in the region to describe sea stacks and other tall, vertical rock outcrops. These rock formations can have unusual shapes and often do resemble a person, perhaps even a friar wrapped in his robes.
Friar’s Cove has cultural value due to its connection to a tradition that was once common in Newfoundland and Labrador – that of bootlegging. Isolated places along the coast, such as Friar’s Cove, were ideal places for bootleggers to conduct business. Local lore says that bootleggers would come to Friar’s Cove around midnight and local buyers would meet them to get their supply.
Friar’s Cove has aesthetic value due to its impressive coastal setting. The cove is only accessible by small boats, as the water is shallow and the entrance to the cove is narrow. The cove features three friars and a small sandy beach.
Source: Town of Harbour Breton Regular Council Meeting Motion #10-09 January 13, 2010.
Character Defining Elements
All those elements which represent the historic, cultural and aesthetic value of Friar’s Cove, including:
– the name Friar’s Cove;
– unobstructed view planes to and from Friar’s Cove;
– continued public access to Friar’s Cove, and;
– the untouched, natural landscape of Friar’s Cove.
Location and History
Town of Harbour Breton
1905 - 1905