St. Luke's Anglican Church Municipal Heritage Site
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Description of Historic Place
Built in 1906, St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Placentia, NL is a wooden church built in the Gothic Revival style. This church was preceded by at least two other churches on the same site. This designation includes the church building and surrounding graveyard.
St. Luke’s Anglican Church has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Placentia due to its aesthetic and historic value.
St. Luke’s Anglican Church has aesthetic value as a good example of the Gothic Revival style employed in a rural church. The style is simplified and the church is constructed of wood, but integral elements such as pointed arch windows and stained glass are used throughout. Elements that display the vernacular interpretation also attest to the high quality of craftsmanship which is remarkable because it was the congregation who built the building in 1906. Typical outport Newfoundland elements include wide, plain moulding, wooden clapboard and simplicity in design not normally associated with Gothic Revival architecture.
Other important aesthetic features include the Coat of Arms painted during the reign of King George III of England and brought to Placentia by Prince William during the 1780s. It hangs inside the church. A mid-twentieth century bell also hangs in the church, donated by the Canadian National Railway in the 1950s. It has the distinction to be the first bell ever to be rung in the church, in spite of the church’s long history. Local folklore says the bell came from the Newfoundland Railway train The Newfie Bullet, affectionately nicknamed the ironic title because it was not noted for its speed or swiftness. Other items within the church also hold significance, such as the altar and pews which were taken from the original Anglican Church of 1786.
St. Luke’s Anglican Church has further aesthetic value because the grounds include a Basque gravesite with headstones dating to the 17th century. Protected under the provincial archaeology act and with a Borden number of ChA1-17 (site name - St. Luke’s Anglican Church Basques burials) this cemetery contains the remains of English, French and Basque peoples. This gravesite is indicative of Basque presence in Placentia over three centuries ago. This site also provides interpretation of separate cultures that were present in Placentia over the last 500 years.
St. Luke’s Anglican Church has historic value due to its age and long time association with Anglicanism in Placentia. This church is the second Anglican Church on this site; the first was established through a dowry given by HRH Prince William Henry, later King William IV of England in 1786. Records reveal the site also once had a Roman Catholic Church that was later demolished. It is also speculated that there was an even earlier church on this site with Basque roots. This church is representative of the religious struggle that accompanied the military struggle which occurred in Placentia during its long history. The presence of cannon on the site are tangible reminders of the conflicts that occurred in the town.
Source: Town of Placentia regular council meeting August 19, 2006.
Character Defining Elements
All those elements which are representative of the Gothic Revival style including:
-peaked gable roof;
-wide, plain moulding;
-pointed arch windows;
-simple interpretation of Gothic Revival style;
-subdued ornamentation on exterior and interior;
-returned eaves; and,
-size, dimensions and massing of building.
All those original interior elements that help define the history of the building, including:
-Royal Coat of Arms dating to circa 1786;
-bell which was donated by the CN Railway; and
-altar and pews which originally were in the first Anglican Church circa 1786.
All elements that define the environmental value of the location including:
-gravesite and headstones;and
-presence of cannon.
Location and History
||Town of Placentia
||1906 - 1908
||Rectangular Short Façade