St. Charles Borromeo Church and Grounds is located on Port Kirwan Road in the community of Fermeuse, NL. Vernacular in design, the church was built between 1923 and 1926 by Nicholas Walsh, Stephen Brophy, Patrick Dunne and numerous volunteers, under the direction of Reverend Charles McCarthy, an Irish priest who served the parish for many years. The designation includes the church and a parcel of land surrounding it.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
St. Charles Borromeo Church and Grounds has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Fermeuse because of its aesthetic, cultural and historic value.
St. Charles Borromeo Church and Grounds has aesthetic value primarily due to its environmental setting. It is clearly visible from many vantage points throughout the community of Fermeuse. It is a prominent landmark along Port Kirwan Road and is clearly viewed when travelling north along the Southern Shore Highway and when approaching the community from the ocean.
St. Charles Borromeo Church has further aesthetic value as an example of a vernacular church incorporating Gothic Revival elements. Gothic influences evident on the exterior include the steeply pointed roof, simple lines, round arched windows with multi-coloured panes and imitation buttresses.
St. Charles Borromeo Church and Grounds has historic value as it is a physical testament to a former way of life once common in many small communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. When the community of Fermeuse needed a new church parishioners made monetary donations to the project as well as providing a mainly voluntary labour pool. Such community efforts to erect public buildings were once a very common practice in small communities. These projects speak to an earlier way of life which is waning in the face of centralized religious governance and regional concentration of places of worship.
St. Charles Borromeo Church and Grounds has cultural value for current Fermeuse residents whose parents and grandparents contributed to the construction of the church and who continue to aid in the maintenance of the church property. Its sentimental value is evidenced through efforts by the Fermeuse Church Committee to restore the church’s interior to its original layout. These efforts harken back to a time and place when religion played an important role in this almost exclusively Roman Catholic community.
Source: Town of Fermeuse Regular Council Meeting March 8, 2006
Character Defining Elements
All those features elements that define the building as a landmark including:
-location on Port Kirwan Road;
-unobstructed view from Port Kirwan Road, Southern Shore Highway and ocean approach, and;
-dimensions, location and orientation of building.
All those exterior features representative of vernacular Gothic Revival style, including:
-steeply pitched gable roof;
-number of storeys;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-multi-paned, multi-coloured rounded arch windows;
-rounded arch window openings;
-location of entrances, and;
-general massing of the structure.
Writing on pieces of wood found during interior renovations read
“This church was built by Patk Dunne for Rev. C.A. McCarthy. Foundation laid 1923 finished at Dec 1926,”
“This altar base was put in place by Stephen Brophy and Patrick Walsh June 11th 1926. Rev. C.A. McCarthy” and
“Men working today Dec 7 1925 R. Kenny, J. O’Neill N.S., M. O’Neill N.S., M.J. O’Connell, A.J. Kenny, N. Walsh.”
Location and History
Town of Fermeuse
Port Kirwan Road
1923 - 1926
Nicholas Walsh, Patrick Dunne, Stephen Brophy
Rectangular Short Façade