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Mortuary Chapel Registered Heritage Structure

Mortuary Chapel, Trinity, NL
Mortuary Chapel, Trinity, NL
Mortuary Chapel, Trinity, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

The Mortuary Chapel is a wooden, Gothic Revival structure with a steep gable roof. Built in 1880 to service the Trinity area, it is one of possibly only two such structures remaining in the province. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Mortuary Chapel has been designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador because of its cultural, historical and aesthetic value.

The Mortuary Chapel has cultural value because of its use as a memorial site. There are several stained glass memorials in the chapel. They were placed in the chapel to commemorate the lives of residents of Trinity and surrounding communities who had died in the First World War. A large marble plaque mounted on an interior wall commemorates the contribution of George Garland Jr. to the church. George was the grandson of Benjamin Lester, who established a large mercantile premises in Trinity in the 1700s. Unlike many English “merchant princes” who spent little time in Newfoundland, George Jr. lived in Trinity for many years and, as witnessed by this memorial, made a positive impression upon the residents of the community.

The Mortuary Chapel has historical value because of the rarity of such structures in contemporary Newfoundland and Labrador. It is possibly one of only two such chapels remaining in the province. These structures were used primarily as funeral sites with other religious services taking part in larger churches.

The Mortuary Chapel has aesthetic value as it is an excellent example of the adaptation of Gothic Revival style in an outport context. Verticalism is maintained while the style is simplified in terms of both decoration and materials. The Gothic Revival style was the accepted architectural style of Anglican buildings in Newfoundland from the mid 1800s until after the First World War. In the rural context, such buildings were typified by their neatness and regularity.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Trinity - Mortuary Chapel – FPT 158”

Character Defining Elements

All those features relating to the function of the chapel as a mortuary site, including:
-stained glass memorial windows;
-George Garland memorial plaque;

All those features relating to the building's construction in a Newfoundland interpretation of the Gothic Revival style, including:
-number of storeys;
-steeply pitched gable roof;
-return on eaves;
-finials on ridge of roof;
-wooden roof shingles;
-narrow clapboard;
-corner boards;
-size, style, trim and placement of pointed arch windows;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-location and style of porch on front facade;
-cupola on porch on front facade;
-one-room interior plan;
-exposed beams on interior;
-interior sheathing; and,
-dimension, location and orientation of building.

Notes of Interest

Stained glass windows are dedicated to fallen soldiers of WWI:

Pte. Frank Morris - Royal Newfoundland Regiment, service number 2974; b. April 27, 1896 to Charles and Anne Susannah (Brown) Morris. He was killed in action October 9, 1917 and is buried in Langemarck, Belgium.

Pte. Arthur E.W. Maidment - Royal Newfoundland Regiment, service number 2910; b. September 8, 1896 to Enoch Heber and Mary Margaret (Symonds) Maidment. He was killed in action on April 14, 1917 at Monchy, France.

Seaman Charles Rowe - Royal Naval Reserve (NL). Son of John and Mary Ann (Clark) Rowe. Drowned when his ship the HMS Viknor foundered off the coast of Ireland.

Pte. James Woolridge - Royal Newfoundland Regiment, service number 1993; b. November 29, 1898 to John and Phoebe Frances (Hayter) Woolridge. He was killed in action on April 14, 1917 at Monchy, France.

Pte. Charles E. Granger - Royal Newfoundland Regiment, service number 3646; b. circa 1891 and died on December 5, 1917 at Cambrai, France.

Pte. Stephen C. Morris - #3 Field Ambulance, Medical Corps, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Canadian Army, service number 33416; b. March 3, 1883 to Joseph and Shristiana (Crocker) Morris. He was killed on July 29, 1916 at Ypres/ Salient, Belgium accidently and upon impact while motorcycling across a train crossing and into the path of a locomotive. He is buried at Poperinghe Military Cemetery, Belgium.

Pte. Frederick Charles Somerton - Royal Newfoundland Regiment, service number 1342; b. circa 1888 and died November 25, 1915 of wounds received in battle at Gallipoli. Buried at sea off Guildford Castle.

Location and History

Community Trinity, Trinity Bay
Municipality Town of Trinity
Civic Address Route 239
Construction 1880 - 1880
Style Religious Vernacular
Building Plan T - Shape