This Week in History
Land Used as a Place of Religious Tolerance
For the week of Monday May 20, 2013
On May 24, 1821, the land transfer deed for the construction of the Free Meeting House in Moncton, New Brunswick, was signed. In the spirit of religious tolerance and co-operation, the meeting house served as place of worship for various religious denominations until 1963.
Inspired by British classicism, the building was constructed in the style of a New England meeting house designed to accommodate various groups. The Free Meeting House in Moncton was built in 1821 through the efforts of Joseph Crandall, the first Baptist leader in the province. The land was deeded by Hannah and William Steadman, and the building was constructed by the community mainly with donated materials. The finished building consisted of a large open space on one level, surmounted by a hipped roof of cedar shingles. The exterior featured birch-bark cladding. The Free Meeting House’s modest appearance does not diminish its historical importance, especially for the region. It is one of Moncton’s oldest buildings!
The Free Meeting House was designated as a National Historic Site in 1990 because it symbolizes the interfaith religious tolerance that prevailed in the Atlantic Provinces at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. The Free Meeting House has been owned by the City of Moncton since 1964, and it is part of the Moncton Museum.
- Date Modified: