St. Paul’s Anglican Church is a timber framed church built between 1892 and 1894 in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. It is surrounded by a small cemetery and sits on a grassy lot on Church Road in Trinity, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Registered Heritage Structure
St. Paul’s Anglican Church was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1987 due to its aesthetic and historic value.
The Anglican Church has a long history in the community of Trinity dating back to 1729. St. Paul’s Anglican Church was the third Anglican church in Trinity, constructed in 1892 to replace the crumbling 1818 building (a building which had, in turn, been built to replace the original 1730 church on that site.) The size and scale of the current church are indicative of the large Anglican community in Trinity at the turn of the twentieth century. With a capacity of 600 people, St. Paul’s Anglican Church is a testament to the central role that organized religion played during the period.
The design for St. Paul’s Anglican Church came from Stephen C. Earle, a noted American architect from Worchester, Massachusetts. However, the design was not intended for Trinity; in fact, Earle may have been unaware of its use there. The architectural drawings were originally created for the Anglican church in Digby, NS. By the time the St. Paul’s Building Committee purchased the drawings from Digby’s minister, the plans had already been re-used for Christ Church in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Construction started on St. Paul’s on March 20, 1892, and was completed on November 13, 1894. The construction of St. Paul’s was led by carpenter Caleb Marshall. Marshall was known for his skilled craftsmanship in the construction of St. Andrew’s Anglican Church in Brooklyn (also a Registered Heritage Structure). He would go on to build St. James Anglican Church in King’s Cove. Like the majority of churches built in Newfoundland and Labrador during this period, the building of St. Paul’s was funded by its parishioners.
St. Paul’s Anglican Church is an excellent example of late Gothic Revival style in its layout and decoration. The Gothic interior features are very ornate, particularly when compared with the more minimalist pre-Ecclesiological churches in the region. This is especially notable in the intricate hammerbeam roof frame and pointed arch arcades, left unpainted to display the natural wood. The “Stick Style” variant of Gothic Revival, also seen in the mock-Tudor beams on the church’s steeple, was likely influenced by the prevalence of this style in the architect’s native New England. St. Paul’s Anglican Church features a classic late Gothic Revival centre-and-side-aisle layout and a large tower topped with a spire. Other Gothic features include arched windows and doors, a large rose window, and clerestory windows.
The church has seen remarkably few alterations since its construction. The tower was rebuilt in 1981, but the reconstruction retained its original Gothic features. As such, St. Paul’s Anglican church stands as one of the province’s most elaborate examples of the Gothic style in a wooden church.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Trinity- St. Paul’s Anglican Church – FPT 39”
Character Defining Elements
All elements that define the building’s Gothic Revival design including:
-number of storeys;
-pine and oak timber frame construction;
-steep pitch gable roof;
-dentils, brackets and exposed beams on eave;
-bell tower with spire and clock;
-triangular windows on bell tower;
-cross pinnacles on porches, gable ends and steeple;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-wooden corner boards;
-mock Tudor exposed exterior beams;
-size, style, trim and placement of wooden windows;
-size, style, trim and placement of pointed arch wooden windows;
-large, central rose window featuring six pointed star;
-louvred lancet window at gable end above rose window;
-triple lancet window below rose window;
-pointed arch stained glass windows featuring crosshatched mullions;
-size, style, trim and placement of wooden clerestory windows;
-size, style, trim and placement of wooden storm windows;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior wooden doors;
-Gothic arch detailing above exterior doors;
-size, style, trim and placement of covered open porches;
-dimension, location and orientation of building;
-height and prominence in built landscape of community;
-visibility from harbour, and;
All interior elements that define the building’s Gothic Revival design, including:
-use of unpainted timbers;
-Y-tracery on door interior;
-central aisle and side aisle interior layout;
-pointed arch arcade on side aisles;
-1833 bell dating to previous St. Paul’s church, and;
-hammerbeam roof of laminated wood.
Location and History
Trinity, Trinity Bay
Town of Trinity
1892 - 1894
Stephen C. Earle
Rectangular Short Façade