St. Luke's Anglican Church National Historic Site of Canada

Gondola Point, New Brunswick
View of St. Luke's Anglican Church, showing its rectangular volume with steeple, 2003. (© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 2003.)
General view
(© Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency, 2003.)
Address : Quispamsis Road at Gondola Point Road, Gondola Point, New Brunswick

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1994-11-24
Dates:
  • 1833 to 1833 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Bishop John Inglis  (Person)
  • Edwin Fairweather  (Architect)
  • Samuel Wetmore  (Builder)
Other Name(s):
  • St. Luke's Anglican Church  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 1994-043

Plaque(s)


Existing plaque:  Quispamsis Road at Gondola Point Road, Gondola Point, New Brunswick

Built in 1831-1833, this fine vernacular example of classical architecture represents the culmination of the pioneering phase of the Anglican Church in eastern Canada. It testifies to the efforts of Bishop John Inglis to spread Anglicanism throughout his diocese through church construction. Attributed to Edwin Fairweather, the design is noteworthy for its plan, symmetry, fine proportions, and classical details which speak eloquently of the influence of British classicism on colonial building. St. Luke's was a chapel of ease until 1988 when it became the parish church of Gondola Point.

Description of Historic Place

St. Luke’s Anglican Church National Historic Site of Canada, located in Quispamsis, New Brunswick, is a late example of the Wren-Gibbsian church. The simple massing, subtle proportions, and restrained decoration, all executed skilfully in wood, bear witness to the ability of classicism to adapt to virtually any circumstance, giving quiet dignity to even very modest structures. The designation refers to the church building on its lot.

Heritage Value

St. Luke’s Anglican Church was designated a national historic site of Canada because: it appears to be the best surviving example of the Wren-Gibbsian Church in New Brunswick; it is a charming example of a significant vernacular expression of classical architecture; it is representative of the pioneering phase of the Anglican church in eastern Canada.

Built from 1831 to 1833, this fine vernacular example of classical architecture represents the culmination of the pioneering phase of the Anglican Church in eastern Canada. It testifies to the efforts of Bishop John Inglis to spread Anglicanism throughout his diocese through church construction. A Wren-Gibbsian church, as defined by its auditory hall with classical detailing, St. Luke’s represents a late expression of a tradition in Anglican church architecture than began in the late 17th century and continued until the early 19th. According to the founding architects James Gibb and Christopher Wren, small, classically decorated auditory halls were the best form for Anglican worship, since they allowed all parishoners to hear the sermon and liturgy. Virtually all Anglican churches were built according to the Wren-Gibbsian model until the mid-19th-century, and St. Luke’s is the best surviving example of this style in New Brunswick.

Attributed to Edwin Fairweather, the design is noteworthy for its plan, symmetry, fine proportions, and classical details that speak to the influence of British classicism on colonial building. St. Luke's was a chapel of ease until 1988 when it became the parish church of Gondola Point. Official recognition refers to the legal property at the time of designation.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1994, June 1996.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include: its location in the centre of Quispamsis, New Brunswick; those elements which speak to its architectural qualities as a Wren-Gibbsian church, namely the single-storey rectangular volume with steeple, projecting apse, sacristy and entrance hall, the open interior volume with longitudinal orientation towards the pulpit, the gallery and pews, its classical features such as the symmetrical plan and elevations, evenly spaced openings, and its classical details such as the Palladian window, round-headed windows, Ionic columns and pilasters, and classical mouldings; those elements which speak to the vernacular expression of classical architecture, namely the modest size, simplicity of design and execution, and the wooden construction; those elements which speak to the pioneering phase of the Anglican church, namely the open auditory hall with pews and gallery and pulpit placed at one end, and the reliance upon the Wren-Gibbsian model; viewscapes between the site and the surrounding landscape, especially those of the spire from across the Kennebecasis River.