St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (also known as The Kirk) is a red and grey brick church built in the Gothic Revival style. Built between 1894 and 1896, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church is located prominently on a hill above Queen’s Road at Long’s Hill in St. John’s. This designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Registered Heritage Structure
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1997 due to its aesthetic and historic value.
A Presbyterian congregation was first established in St.John’s in 1842 and has since resided in several different church buildings. The land on which the present-day St. Andrew’s sits was granted to the congregation by Governor Sir John Harvey on October 19, 1842. By December 1843, construction of the first St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was complete. However, an 1849 division in the Church of Scotland required the construction of a second church on Duckworth Street. The two new congregations – the Church of Scotland and the Free Church – remained separate for nearly 30 years, until both churches were destroyed by separate fires in 1876. The reunion of the Presbyterian Church in Canada in 1877 allowed the congregations to merge again. A new “Kirk” was built to house them on Duckworth Street in 1878-79. Not 15 years later, this church burned down along with much of the downtown core in the Great Fire of 1892. The fourth St. Andrew’s was built on the site of the original church, likely on the remnants of the original foundation. It incorporated multiple features salvaged from the third church: the 1878 cornerstone, a medallion featuring a burning bush, and the stone portico above the main entrance.
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was built by S.M. Brookfield and designed by British architect James Wills Senior. Wills was commissioned to come to St. John’s to repair the Anglican Cathedral after the Great Fire of 1892. While he was here, the congregation of St. Andrew’s commissioned him to design their new church. He also designed the nearby Masonic Temple on Cathedral Street during the same period. The cornerstone of the new St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was laid on August 24, 1894. The building was completed in 1896, save for the spire added in 1904. Between 1902 and 1926, a series of twelve Ballantine windows depicting episodes in the life of Jesus Christ were installed in the sanctuary. These windows, made by Edinburgh firm A.Ballantine and Sons, are representative of the St. John’s congregation’s historic ties to Scotland. Two more stained glass windows by an unknown artist were added to the vestibule in 1963. In 1989, six stained glass windows by Newfoundland artist Peter Breckon were installed in the bell tower and east and west entrances.
The church exhibits a Gothic Revival architectural style, a common choice for ecclesiastical buildings in St. John’s during the nineteenth century. The pointed arch windows and doors, spire, finials, buttresses and arcading are all typical Gothic Revival features. The cruciform layout is likewise typical for a Gothic Revival church of the period. Built of imported brick and sandstone, the roof of the church features unique shingling of red and black Newfoundland slate. The size and scale of the church speak to the influence of the small Presbyterian community in St. John’s – a community historically composed of prominent Scottish merchant families. St. Andrew’s is still used by a congregation of 100-280 people today.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “St. John’s – St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (The Kirk) – FPT 1646”
Character Defining Elements
All those exterior elements that are representative of the Gothic Revival style of architecture as executed in brick, including:
-building height and massing;
-Accrington brick construction, with Giffnock sandstone trim;
-steep-pitch gable roof of red and black Newfoundland slate;
-terracotta roof ridge;
-square bell tower, with round “burning bush” medallion;
-spire with corner finials, arcading and pinnacle;
-size, style, trim and placement of all windows and doors;
-pointed arch windows with trefoil hoodmoulds in sandstone;
-pointed arch portico on main entrances;
-1878 cornerstone, and;
All those interior elements that represent the age and use of this building, including:
-historic stained glass windows by A. Ballantine and Sons of Edinburgh, and;
-modern stained glass windows, including those by Newfoundland artist Peter Breckon.
All those elements which reflect the historic prominence of the church, including:
-prominent location on a hill;
-location on a large, sheltered lot with mature trees, and;
-proximity to other churches within the St. John’s Ecclesiastical District National Historic Site of Canada.
Location and History
City of St. John's
76 Queen's Road
1894 - 1896
James Wills, S.M. Brookfield
Cruciform with Apse