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June 2009 - The New Brunswick Anglican

Churchyard all that survives of delightful chapel

In 1842, during the incumbency of the Rev. J. W. Disbrow, construction began on the little church at Magundy, above Fredericton on the St. John River, near Magaguadavic. It was completed during the time of the Rev. Joseph Elwell. This delightful little chapel sat on 1.5 acres of land deeded to the Bishop of Nova Scotia on Jan. 27, 1843 by William Lockard and his wife Mary. At one time a lot was also reserved for a rectory, but it was not built. Until the completion of St. John’s, summer services were held in William Love’s barn and in Benjamin Lockard’s house during the rest of the year. In the early 1840’s the Diocesan Church Society (DCS) awarded a grant of just over $16 to Mr. Disbrow to assist in building the chapel at Magundy Settlement, the sum to be paid when “it shall be duly certified that the building is enclosed and that it stands on land held in fee simple by or for the use of the Church.” Records of 1847 indicate that the grant was “not taken up because conditions had not been fulfilled.”

On May 4, 1853, the vestry awarded the sum of $5 to the Magundy church committee in order to pay off its debt. Just six weeks later, on June 18, the church was consecrated by Bishop Medley. On April 6, 1874 the vestry granted the sum of $10 towards a new roof for St. John’s. They also resolved to install an east window in memory of the late Thomas Jones, “providing the members of his family ap- prove thereof ” and the rector was authorized to procure a prayer desk for the Church.

At a service in 1868 there were 12 confirmations and 19 communicants out of a congregation of 63. On August 22, 1875, 14 were confirmed at a 3 p.m. service. On July 30, 1879, seven candidates ranging in age from 12 to 16 years were confirmed by Bishop Medley. On August 17, 1884, Hattie, infant daughter of Thomas Albert and Mary Elizabeth Brown, was baptized in the Church.

Among the marriages solemnized were Thomas Adams and Sarah Ann McMullin on August 2, 1860; James Henry and Mary Jane Gartley on July 19, 1874; Eden Waugh and Mary Ann McElwain on Oct. 31, 1877; and Thomas Albert Brown and Mary Elizabeth Love on Sept. 18, 1878. The last burial in the churchyard was likely that of Martha Lockard, who died Sept. 30, 1913.

In his report to the DCS in the early 1870’s, the Rev. Frederick B. Crozier spoke well of his congregation: “Attendance at services and the Holy Communion is in good proportion to the number of church people in the settlement. I think the reverence displayed for the worship of God’s house is a matter of great thankfulness. The people enjoy the services heartily and on the most unpleasant day in an unusually severe winter, many of these people have walked miles to attend a litany service.”

In his report in 1885, the Rev. Arthur Lowndes wrote: “... St. John’s Church, Magundy, needs over $300 to put it in repair. The building is so dilapidated that it is very doubtful whether the erection of a new church would not be cheaper in the end than repairing the old fabric. The congregation at St. John’s is small, though willing, and therefore it is difficult to know what course would be the best to pursue.”

At a meeting of the Vestry held in the Orange Hall at Magundy at 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 26, 1887, a motion was passed that “the Rector be empowered to pull down the church at Magundy” but according to the Rev. C. T. Easton, it was still standing in the early 1890’s when he echoed Mr. Lowndes’ words: “A new church edifice is sadly needed at Magundy. The old one is dilapidated.”

The Parish of Prince William annual meetings of 1895 and 1896 were held in St. John’s in Magundy. These seem to be the last records of any meetings being held there. In 1897 the annual meeting was held in the Orange Hall. It is said that when the church was torn down, the “wide boards” were taken to Harvey and used in building a store.

The names of families who lived in the area of St. John’s Church during its existence include Blaney, Brown, Gartley, Graham, Henry, Jones, Kirkpatrick, Lockard, Love, McElwain, Miller and Pickard. They are buried in The Old Magundy Church Yard.

Sources:
* Leaves from Juliana Horatio Ewing’s
Canada Home by Elizabeth Tucker
* Bishop Medleys Journal and Register
* R. P. Gorham,
The Church of England in the Parish of Prince William
* Various Diocesan Church Reports
* Register of Services, Parish of Prince William and Dumfries, 1884-1919
* With special thanks to Wendy Brien, Ruth Ker and Joe Fletcher
The Archives Corner is prepared by Twila Buttimer (twila.buttimer@gnb.ca, 506-453-4306) and Frank Morehouse (frankm@ nbnet.nb.ca, 506-459-3637). If you have any ideas for future articles or if you can add anything to the present story, we would appreciate hearing from you. 

    
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Joel O'Kane,
Dec 12, 2011, 6:32 PM
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