ST. Paul's Church - 1888 - Birchtown, NS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 43° 44.685 W 065° 22.885
20T E 308252 N 4846279
Quick Description: This little Anglican, Methodist, Baptist church required much longer than most to complete but, long since finished, it remains with us and in constant use by the community.
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Date Posted: 12/6/2017 8:34:14 PM
Waymark Code: WMX786
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member razalas
Views: 0

Long Description:
The church was built by the Black Loyalists of Birchtown, with construction beginning in 1888 and completion not coming about until 1905. The church was officially opened on St' Paul's Day, January 25th, 1906, with a congregation of about 100 present. Though the community consisted of Anglicans, Methodists and Baptists, when it opened, it was as an Anglican Church.

The reasons for its excessive construction time were likely financial, with money being hard to come by for the Black Loyalists in the late nineteenth century. Too, though records show that the land for the church was purchased in 1888, we cannot cannot state with certainty that construction of the building commenced forthwith.

The church was built with strong Gothic influences, with Gothic lancet windows and a Gothic arched entrance door. The tower and steeple could be considered as "minimalist", as it consists of a simple square with an equally simple gable roofed top serving as the steeple. Totally enclosed, it would be a surprise to find that the tower contained a bell. As steeples go this is another that is quite unique in our experience.

ST. Paul's Church

Faith was and is an important part of the Black Loyalist life. The Birchtown Loyalists were primarily Anglican, Methodist or Baptist. Two of community's spiritual leaders were; Moses Wilkinson - a blind, lame, former slave known for his fiery preaching and David George - a Baptist who traveled the province preaching in Black communities. The earliest church building here in Birchtown was shared by several denominations.

Construction of St. Paul's Church was started in 1888 and completed in 1905. Records show that a Black fisherman named Enoch Scott sold the land to the rectors, wardens and vestry of St. George and St. Patrick in 1888. Enoch's great granddaughter, Anna Scott, resides in Shelburne, and is an accomplished quilter and gardener whose property is open to the public for viewing. A mix of White and Black families attended this new Birchtown Anglican Church. It was built facing Shelburne Harbour across from the "Old Black Burial Ground". Unfortunately, most of the church records were lost in a house fire.
From the Plaque at the Church


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SAINT PAUL'S CHURCH

In 1996 the Black Loyalist Heritage Society acquired land in Birchtown, Shelburne County, Nova Scotia, to develop the heritage site. One of those buildings included St. Paul’s Church. Faith was and is an important part of the Black Loyalist life. The Birchtown Loyalists were primarily Anglican, Methodist or Baptist. Two of the community’s early spiritual leaders were; Moses Wilkson – a blind, lame, former slave known for his fiery preaching and David George – a Baptist who traveled the province preaching in Black communities. The earliest church building here in Birchtown was shared by several denominations.

The community built St. Paul’s beginning in 1888 and opened as the Anglican Church in 1906. Records show that a Black fisherman named Enoch Scott sold the land to the rectors, wardens and vestry of St. George & St. Patrick in 1888. When the present Church was completed, it opened with 33 charter members under Priest-In-Charge, Reverend Edward H. Ball and the Meeting Minutes of January 1905 note that there were 54 families wishing to be appropriated pews in the Church.

Among the Black Loyalist families were the Alexander Herbert family, the Austin Shepherd family, the Joseph Warrington family, the Leonard Scott family, and of course, the Enoch Scott family. Other Birchtown families with the well-known surnames of Acker, Boyd, Collupy, Goulden, Gregory, Townsend & Schultz dot the pages of the only known existing Minute Book of the parish.

Excerpts of the newspaper clipping from The Gazette describing the opening of the church read: “In spite of the wild snow storm and the very cold weather of St. Paul’s Day the 25th of January, a congregation of about 100 gathered for the opening service of the at-last-completed-church.”

“The architecture is after the Early English, or First pointed Gothic style . . . all the windows with stained borders and tinted centers are lancets and the chancel arch, doors, seat ends and panels … and altar correspond.”

The church served this community for many generations and upon closing as an Anglican church, it was purchased by the BLHS as a community landmark. On May 6, 2007, the church was officially deconsecrated by the Right Reverend Fred Hiltz and the baptismal font was donated to Christ Church, Shelburne.

The church is now used as a venue to host community events, weddings, concerts, historical re-enactments and house exhibit displays. In 2007, the BLHS decided to restore the stain glass windows of St. Paul’s Church to their original beauty and embarked on a sponsorship campaign to raise the required funds from community members & organizations. Cliff Armsworthy, a local stain glass restoration specialist, removed the cracked and damaged glass, and refitted the windows with the new panes. Thanks to your generosity, we now have windows to admire for another 100 years.
From the Black Loyalist Heritage Society

Year built or dedicated as indicated on the structure or plaque: 1888

Full Inscription (unless noted above):
ST. Pauls Church
Circa 1888


Website (if available): [Web Link]

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