St. Paul's Church (Halifax)

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St Paul's Church
St Paul's in the Grand Parade
St Paul's Church
44°38′51″N 63°34′29″W / 44.64750°N 63.57472°W / 44.64750; -63.57472Coordinates: 44°38′51″N 63°34′29″W / 44.64750°N 63.57472°W / 44.64750; -63.57472
Location 1749 Argyle Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia
B3J 3K4
Country Canada
Denomination Anglican
Churchmanship Low church
Website Official site
Founded 13 June 1750 (1750-06-13)
Architect(s) James Gibbs[1]
Architectural type Georgian

2 September 1750

Official name St. Paul’s Anglican Church National Historic Site of Canada
Designated 1981
Type Provincially Registered Property
Designated 7 November 1983
Reference no. 00PNS0006

St. Paul's Church is an evangelical Anglican church in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia, within the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island of the Anglican Church of Canada. It is located at the south end of the Grand Parade, an open square in downtown Halifax with Halifax City Hall at the northern end. Built during Father Le Loutre's War, it is the oldest surviving Protestant church in Canada and the oldest building in Halifax.[2] There is also a crypt below the church and the St. Paul's Church Cemetery. The official chapel of the church was the Little Dutch (Deutsch) Church.

Saint Paul's was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1981.[3][4] In 1981, it was designated a Municipal Registered Heritage Property by the former City of Halifax, and in 1983 it was designated a Provincially Registered Heritage Property both under the provincial Heritage Property Act.[1]


It was founded in 1749 (the same year as the Halifax colony). The construction was begun in 1750 and is based on the ground plan of Gibbs' Marybone Chapel (later St. Peter's, Vere Street) in London, with later additions such as a larger tower. Reverend William Tutty (1715-1754) opened the church on September 2, 1750.[5] Rev William Tutty was the first minister (1750–54); followed by Rev John Breynton (1754-1791) and Rev. Thomas Wood (1751-1764), who served at the same time.[6]

Reverend Thomas Wood at St. Paul's (1751-1764)[7]

During the North American theatre of the Seven Years' War, the church was the site of the burials of two prominent Nova Scotians: Governor Charles Lawrence. (d.1760) and Catholic Priest Pierre Maillard, the latter ceremony was attended by a large number of Mi'kmaq people. (Also during the war, the church was where Horatio Gates married Elizabeth Phillips in 1754.) Soon after the war, Vice-Admiral Philip Durell (d. 1766) was buried after having participated in the Siege of Louisbourg (1758) and the Siege of Quebec (1759).

Captain Philip Durell, buried at St. Paul's (d.1786)

During the American Revolution the church held burial ceremonies for Francis McLean (d. 1781) who defended New Ireland (Maine) during the war; Capt Henry Francis Evans (d.1781) who died in the Naval Battle off Cape Breton (1781); Baron Oberst Franz Carl Erdmann von Seitz Hatchment (d.1782) who was the commander of the Hessian soldiers that defended Lunenburg in the Raid on Lunenburg (1782); and Governor Michael Francklin (d. 1782), whose funeral was also attended by a large number of Mi'kmaq people.

After the American Revolution, with the creation of the Diocese of Nova Scotia in 1787, St. Paul's was given the Bishop's seat, making it the first Anglican cathedral outside of Great Britain. It served as the cathedral from 1787-1864.[8] The diocese included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, St. Johns (now Prince Edward Island), and across Quebec and Ontario to Windsor, and Bermuda. For many decades it was one of the only places of worship in Halifax, and other denominations would thus hold services in the building.

During the Halifax Explosion of 1917, a piece of wooden window frame from another building was lodged into the wall of St. Paul's Church, where it remains today.

Royal Visits[edit]

Saint Paul's has a royal pew, and many royal guests have visited, including the father of Queen Victoria, Prince Edward, and Princesses Michael, Margaret, Alexandra, and Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II), and Prince William Henry in 1786 (later King William IV), Edward in 1860 (later King Edward VII), and Prince Edward in 1987. However, HRH Prince George, later to become King George V of the United Kingdom, declined to use the royal pew during his visits to Halifax as the commander of the HMS Thrush. [9]

The crypt[edit]

The crypt contains the remains of 20 congregants including:[10]

Lt Governors of Nova Scotia[edit]



  • Lieutenant General William Gardiner, d. 1806
  • Lieutenant Colonel David Meredith, d. 1809
  • Sophia Sawyer, d. 1788 (Wife of Admiral Herbert Sawyer (1730–1798))


Military memorial plaques[edit]

Stain glass Windows[edit]

Notable events[edit]

  • Horatio Gates married Elizabeth Phillips on October 20, 1754 in Halifax


See also[edit]




  1. ^ a b St. Paul's Anglican Church. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  2. ^ It was the second protestant church ever established in Canada. The first was Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (St. John's), Newfoundland (1699).
  3. ^ St. Paul's Anglican Church National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 16 April 2013.
  4. ^ St. Paul's Anglican Church National Historic Site of Canada. Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada.
  5. ^ Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside. 
  6. ^ Breynton was absent from 1785-1791.
  7. ^ Thomas, C. E. (1979). "Wood, Thomas". In Halpenny, Francess G. Dictionary of Canadian Biography. IV (1771–1800) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press. 
  8. ^ Baxter Emsley, Sarah (1999). St. Paul's in the Grand Parade. halifax: Formac Publishing Company Ltd. p. 4. ISBN 0-88780-487-X. 
  9. ^ Baxter Emsley, Sarah (1999). St. Paul's in the Grand Parade. Halifax: Formac Publishing Company Ltd. pp. 47–48. ISBN 0-88780-487-X. 
  10. ^ For the list see J. Philip McAleer. A pictorial history of St. Paul's Anglican Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia 1 edition Appendix 2, 1993. pp.142-143
  11. ^ Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society. Vol. 1, p. 44
  12. ^ Colonel of the Hesse Cassel Garrison Regiment Von Seitz - see Hessian (soldiers). The Baron fought in the American Revolution, particularly on 16 November 1776, he captured Fort Washington; 1776-1778, Garrisoned New York; 1778-1783, Garrisoned Halifax. See "The Hessians of Nova Scotia" by John H Merz and Winthrop P. Bell entitled, "A Hessian conscript's account of life in garrison at Halifax at the time of the American Revolution". Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, Volume 27, 1947
  13. ^ While a display inside the church states that Buckeley is buried in the crypt, according to J. Philip McAleer, the evidence that Bulkeley was buried in the church is circumstantial. This circumstantial evidence rests on the fact that he helped establish the church and was an active member in it for 51 years. Also Buckeley is reported to have had the largest funeral ceremony ever to be in Halifax up to that date. Further, his wife Mary Rous has a headstone in the St Paul's Church Cemetery, while Buckeley does not. Rev Hill, however reports that Bulkeley's grave is marked by a rude stone in St. Paul's Church cemetery, presumably close to the gravestone of his wife Mary Rous. (See Collections of the Nova Scotia Historical Society, Vol. 2, p. 69)
  14. ^ Barry Cahill, “The Career of Chief Justice Bryan Finucane,” Nova Scotia Historical Society Collections, vol. 42 (1986), pp. 153-69.
  15. ^ Captain John Mudge b. 1792 d. 1872 m. Sarah Jessie Henrietta Colton b. 1796 d. 1818. Dolphin, about October 1777, captured the 100-ton brigantine Salisbury (John Mudge). Dolphin was sent into Massachusetts, where she was libeled in the Massachusetts Court of the Middle District on 6 November 1777, with trial set for 27 November.46

External links[edit]