Bethany United Church Registered Heritage Structure
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Registered Heritage Structure
Description of Historic Place
Bethany United Church is a vernacular, wooden, Gothic Revival church centrally located in Petites, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Bethany United Church was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1994 due to its historic and aesthetic value.
Bethany United Church has historic value because of its age. The church was designed by several unrecorded English architects and built by the residents of Petites circa 1859. According to church records materials like lumber and nails were purchased as early as August 1859. Materials were shipped to Petites where the local residents undertook the job of construction. The church served the community until the fall of 2003 when the community was resettled. The last service held in Bethany United Church was on September 21, 2003.
Bethany United Church has aesthetic value due to its environmental setting. It is located in the centre of Petites on a barren, rocky site. It is easily seen from most positions in the village and stands out as the prominent view from the ocean as one enters the harbour. It is situated near two ponds and a small cemetery that holds the graves of original settlers.
Bethany United Church has further aesthetic value because it is a good example of an early, wooden, Gothic Revival church. The simple lines and delicately arched windows attest to the spiritual nature of the building while the sturdy tower provides a focal point, from land and sea. The exterior of the church retains much of its original character, though the tower was replaced in the 1940s after being struck by lightning. Although the interior has been renovated and modernized, the original pews, balcony, windows, altar, classical columns and diamond-pattern moulding remain. A unique ogee arched stained glass window features prominently high above the alter. Such detailing attests to the community’s efforts and craftsmanship.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Petites - Bethany United Church – FPT 1594”
Character Defining Elements
All those characteristics of representative of an outport Gothic Revival church, including:
-arched, label moulding above windows;
-single hung, multipaned windows;
-stained glass, ogee arched window;
-steeply pitched gable roof;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-tower with main entrance;
-cresting at top of tower; and,
-all original interior features such as the balcony, Classical columns and diamond patterned moulding.
All those elements that define the building as a landmark including:
-location in the center of town;
-visibility from the harbour; and,
-location in respect to gravesites of original settlers to the community.
Location and History