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St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church Registered Heritage Structure

St. Patrick's Church, Woody Point, NL
St. Patrick's Church, Woody Point, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church is a wooden, Gothic Revival style building located in Woody Point, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the church building and the footprint of the bell house.

Heritage Value

St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church has been designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador because of its architectural, historical, and environmental values.

St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church is architecturally valuable as it is a good example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture in an outport setting. Master builders Joseph Breau from Nova Scotia and Peter Jackman from Newfoundland constructed this building in 1875. Some of the more prominent features of the Gothic Revival style, such as the arched windows and doors, were used in the building of this structure while other features have been simplified, such as the exterior decoration. Though the majority of the foundation is made out of concrete, one end of the church is still supported by a long wooden shore and rock piles. Due to minimal exterior renovations, this church reflects local building styles and techniques of the past. The interior of the building much more elaborate than its exterior due to the fine craftsmanship of Joesph Breau. The exposed-beam ceiling was hand carved by Breau himself, in to a series of circles with intricate floral designs. Also located on the property is the bell house, containing the original bell that dates back to the building of the church.

Historically, St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church is significant because of its ties to the Roman Catholic religion in Woody Point. This church, built under the tenure of Reverend William Browne, is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in the diocese of St. George’s. Having been built in Bailey’s Point, the congregation were forced to move the church to Woody Point in the late 19th century due to a population shift. Residents gathered together and moved the church across the ice in three separate sections, reconstructing it on the hill where it still stands today. St. Patrick’s is also historically valuable because of the people associated with it. Father Massey, who served in Woody point during the mid 20th century, trained an interdenominational community band in Woody point, went on to become a well known professor of church music and Gregorian chanting at the prestigious DePaul University in Chicago. Reverend Thomas Sears, who served the entire coastline from Bay of Islands to the Great Northern Peninsula from 1881 – 1882, was entrusted with the diocese of Oroschi in his homeland and subsequently devised the present day Albanian alphabet.

St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church is environmentally valuable because of its location in the town of Woody Point. Situated in the centre of town atop a hill covered in greenery, this church is highly visible from both land and water, typical of churches built in Newfoundland. Once used as a navigational aid for fisherman at sea, St. Patrick’s Church is now a landmark for members of the communities and visitors alike.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Woody Point - St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church – FPT 1690”

Character Defining Elements

All elements of the church typical of the Newfoundland ecclesiastical Gothic Revival style including:
- steeply pitched gable roof with tower;
- all exterior detailing and decoration;
- location and dimensions doors and windows;
- dimensions, location and orientation of building; and,
- bell house and bell located on property.

All interior elements related to the age and construction of the building including:
- use of local materials including narrow wooden clapboard and wooden shores;
-exposed beam roof; and,
-all ceiling carvings and wood-working;

All elements related to the environment including:
-location in community; and,
-view of harbour and surrounding town.

Location and History

Community Woody Point
Municipality Town of Woody Point
Construction 1875 - 1875
Joseph Breau
Peter Jackman
Style Gothic Revival
Building Plan Rectangular Short Façade