Anglican Church. St. Mary's Chapel-of-Ease (Chatham, N.B.)

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Anglican Church. St. Mary's Chapel-of-Ease (Chatham, N.B.)

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Dates of existence

Opened in 1836; original structure burnt in 1964; present structure opened in 1971

History

The first Anglican church in the Miramichi area of New Brunswick was erected in the early 1800s to serve both Newcastle and Chatham. The Reverend Samuel Bacon oversaw the construction of the Gothic-style church on a site located near both communities. The first service was held at St. Paul's Church at Christmas 1825. Within a short time, members of the congregation expressed dissatisfaction with the distance they had to travel to attend services. In the 1830s plans were drawn to construct St. Mary's Chapel-of-Ease at Chatham to serve Anglicans residing there. Built by contractors Thomas Hodgson and S. J. Frost, the church opened in 1836.

A dispute soon arose over where to hold vestry meetings -- in the parish church of St. Paul's or in St. Mary's Chapel. In 1889 the Reverend David Forsyth took charge of the parish and oversaw renovations to both churches. The chapel was totally destroyed by fire on 12 June 1964 and was not immediately rebuilt due to declining membership. The rectory remained on the site until about 1975 when it was demolished. Eventually, a new St. Mary's Chapel was built of brick and stone on the original site. In 1981 both St. Mary's Chapel and St. Paul's Church were under the leadership of the same priest.

Source:
"David's Kingdom" by W. A. Spray, 1979

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