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St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church - Cumberland, PEI
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 46° 10.076 W 063° 10.095
20T E 487011 N 5112720
Quick Description: Nearly a "Church by the Sea", St. Martin of Tours has stood just a couple of hundred metres north of the Atlantic Shore for the better part of 150 years, as of 2016.
Location: Prince Edward Island, Canada
Date Posted: 12/6/2017 11:45:50 PM
Waymark Code: WMX78G
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member MountainWoods
Views: 0

Long Description:
St. Martin of Tours is a rarity on the Island primarily due to the use of Island sandstone and brick in its construction. The sanctuary is built of sandstone to the eaves, with brick gable ends and a brick bell tower, atop which is a tall wooden steeple, now sheathed in metal. It was not until 1971 that the bell tower received its bell.

Quarrying of the sandstone for the church was begun in 1865 and the church opened for services in 1872, according to Island Narratives. Though the original intention was to build the church of wood, the demise of several churches on the Island by fire at this time forced a reconsideration by the Parish. Fortunately for the Parish, useable sandstone was to be found just a half mile away. Employment of this sandstone, along with bricks, proved to be a wise decision, it turns out, as the little church is still with us, unscathed by flame.

Just across the road is the church's cemetery, the final resting place of many of the area's pioneers. This cemetery, we believe, is no longer accepting burials, as a cemetery shared with St. Francis of Assisi Church was established in Cumberland in 1997.

...It was not until 1872 that the dwellers in this tiny settlement decided upon building themselves a church; in that year they set about the erection of the pretty little sanctuary in which once a month one of the priests from Charlottetown celebrates Mass. This church of St. Martin is thirty five feet in length by twenty five in breadth and sixteen feet post. It is built of red brick and sandstone and has a graceful and proportionate spire.

The altar which is neat and tasteful in design is the work of Mr. Newson of Charlottetown. The interior is very nicely finished and is enriched by a handsome set of Stations of the Cross presented by his Lordship Bishop Mclntyre. The late Lawrence Murphy, his brother Peter Murphy and James Foley were chiefly instrumental in building this church.

A neat railing encloses the glebe, upon which is a very beautiful grove of hardwood trees. The cemetery is beautifully shaded by beech and birch trees and has a neat fence, well kept paths and a central cross.

The situation of the church is very beautiful; it stands upon a high sandstone cliff overlooking the straits of Northumberland, before it stretched the long low expanse of St. Peter's Island, so called from the Comte de St. Pierre, to whom it, with the Magdalen Islands, the Island of St. John, the Bird Rocks and Brion Island, was ceded by the king of France in 1719...
From Island Lives

The small stone church is still frequented by descendants of the early pioneers responsible for its completion, and may also be the reason why the church is still functioning. The cemetery, made possible by donation of land by John Lannan, is located across the road. The cemetery serves as a historical walk through the past, as many of the early settlers are buried here. The detailed inscriptions on the headstones allow visitors a personal sneak peek into the past. Murphy, Hogan, Quilty, Dowling, Doyle, Lannan and Griffin are just a few of the names seen regularly on the headstones. These settlers emigrated from the southeast of Ireland from counties such as Tipperary, Carlow, Wexford, and Waterford.
From Island Narratives

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St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church

St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church is a small rural Carpenter Gothic church built of Prince Edward Island sandstone and brick located in the South Shore community of Cumberland overlooking the Northumberland Strait.

St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church is valued for its rare sandstone and brick construction, for its connection with the Roman Catholic church, its location, and its importance to the community. This church was named in honour of St. Martin of Tours who lived during the 4th century, the patron saint of France and of soldiers. The tomb of St. Martin was rediscovered in 1860 which led to renewed popularity and devotion to St. Martin.

St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church is one of a handful of Prince Edward Island sandstone buildings. Designed by mason-architect John Corbett, it was completed in 1868. Irish-born Corbett was construction supervisor for several Roman Catholic buildings in Charlottetown including the Bishop's Palace (1872-1875), the Convent of Notre-Dame (1870) and the Welsh-Owen Building (circa 1872) and is credited with the design of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Fort Augustus (1870, destroyed by fire in 1897). St. Martin's Church was built of locally quarried sandstone by James Foley and brothers Lawrence and Peter Murphy. Preparations for the construction of the church began in 1865 when the stone was quarried from the nearby Murphy homestead. The Murphy family were immigrants from County Carlow, Ireland where they learned their trade. Sandstone was used in the construction of the church walls to the eave line which turns to brick. Small scale brick was used in the framing of the Gothic windows and in the construction of the tower. A small brick vestry on the south elevation was re-built in wood in 1971, the same year a church bell was installed.

Prior to the construction of St. Martin's, parishioners, who first settled in the area in the 1820s, travelled by boat to Charlottetown for Mass and later attended services in private homes. St. Dunstan's parish priests served St. Martin's until 1929 when the church was placed under the direction of the Church of the Most Holy Redeemer in Charlottetown. St. Martin of Tours is now affiliated with St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church in Cornwall.

Located on a tall cliff west of the mouth of the Charlottetown Harbour overlooking the Northumberland Strait, St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church continues to be a landmark in its community and to mariners.

- the sandstone and brick construction
- the brick detailing surrounding the Gothic windows
- the pointed-arch Gothic windows
- the square brick tower with inset panels, and Gothic window
- the dentil detailing at the top of the inset panels on the tower
- the doors with transom window
- the roof pitch and the eave returns
- the spire
- its location overlooking the Northumberland Strait
From Historic Places Canada

Church Name: St. Martin of Tours

Church In Use (even only just occassionally): yes

Date Church Built: 1865-72

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