St John’s Church History

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Excerpt of St John’s History:

Did you know…..
On Monday, June 25, 1860 members of the Masonic
Fraternity met in Stirling to lay the cornerstone of
the Anglican Church.  It was a beautiful day.
After Lodge proceedings, and led by a brass band,
the procession moved to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian
Church for a service. This concluded, all the folks
congregated back to the site and began the ancient
custom of setting the cornerstone. With much ceremony
the cornerstone for St. John the Evangelist was laid. 
The Hastings Chronicle, Belleville published the story
on June 27, 1860, relating that 250 Masonic Brethren
and 2000 spectators attended the ceremony!
The new Church opened in 1861! The builders worked
all through the winter.  “It was so cold when the roof
was shingled that shingles had to be warmed to
prevent the fingers of Mr. James Rogers and his
assistant from being frozen.”

Did you know…
Superintendent of the build was Richard Meath,
an engineer from Ireland, who was here to assist
in the building of the Trent Canal!  The walls of
the church building are red brick inside, and
Trenton limestone outside.  They measure two
feet 5 inches thick.  Our church is a fine example
of the stone mason’s art of 100 years ago.  Mr.
William Mitchell presented the site for the
building.  There was doubt as to the full name of
our church…St. John the Baptist, St. John the
Divine, but a copper plate left in the cornerstone
calls us St. John the Evangelist.

Did you know…..
The Stirling Mission, beginning in 1847, in the
Diocese of Toronto included Marmora and
Madoc together with parts of Rawdon, Sidney
 and West Huntington Townships.
Services were held in the schoolhouse and
later in the Town Hall after the Village was
incorporated.  Reverend Groves was succeeded
by Reverend James Preston in 1859.
With his leadership, the people of Stirling undertook
preparations to build a Church.  The fine Gothic
design was prepared by Fuller Messer & Jones
of Toronto.  These architects planned the first
Parliament House in Ottawa.  Mr. Fuller was
born in Bath, England and can claim designs of
many beautiful buildings.  From 1881-1897 he
was the Chief Architect of the Dominion of Canada.

Did you know…
St. John’s is older than the Diocese of Ontario?
When first established we were a mission under
the care of the great Bishop John Strathan, first Bishop
of Toronto.  Stirling was then part of Canada West
and these were very prosperous times.  Historians
note “wheat sold for $2 a bushel, land by the inch!”
The Crimean War brought prosperity, the Grand
Trunk Rail linked Halifax to London.  Confederation
was still unknown, the American Civil War undecided,
and the Canadian Pacific Rail still a dream.

Submitted by Helen Wright