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The history of the Anglican Church in Topsail dates back to the early 1800's when settlers began to move into the area. These earlier settlers were occasionally visited by clergy from the Cathedral in St. John's. One of the earlier recording is a marriage in 1819. In 1845, Rev. Benjamin Fleet was appointed Missionary of the South Shore, then a stretch of beach running 8 to 10 miles from Topsail to Seal Cove, including 11 settlements. This former choir boy found a dramatic change of lifestyle. The winters in the unsheltered coast were found almost unbearable and his lodgings were a merely a former hayloft. He describes the people as being of the lowest class of fisherman and sought the disappearance of such immoral acts as nightly card playing and drinking amongst the younger crowd. The only Church as "old decayed building centered in Foxtrap which barely sufficed the needs of the mission.
With the extension of the roads in the 1840's, the population of Topsail-Manuels grew rapidly. Due to the growth, Topsail became a separate mission in 1860 and Rev. Charles Palairet was appointed its first incumbent. Stemming from a rich background in France, along with generous gifts, bought to completion this church in Topsail. The present building dates from the time of Rev. Palairet, who according to records was very active in planning anng orchasing of materials for the structure. The first service was held in the ced ch Cottage on May 8, 1860 and the church opened Jun 18, 1861. Since the original construction a number of changes have been made, such as the tower was not part of the original building, asphalt singles have replaced the wooden ones, and electricity replaced the oil lamps and chandelier. One of the most interesting features is its style of architecture and the natural wood has never been painted. Rev. Palairet also built the Church and Parsonage in Foxtrap, built houses for poor families as well as lavish a small fortune on the Churches and the people of Topsail, greatly improving the quality of life there. This church saw its last consecutive service in 1974, the unique building forms an important part of the heritage, religion and tradition of the area which is worth preserving. The Old Church is retained as a consecrated place of worship.
Information and Records for St. John the Evangelists Anglican Church - TopsailADDRESS:
P.O. Box 13033 Stn. Topsail
Conception Bay South, NL
A1W 2K1 Telephone #:
Office - (709) 834-2336
Rev. Hynes - (709) 834-4633
(709) 834-0236 e-mail address:
The Rev'd Canon Howard Hynes
The Rev'd Canon Andrew Hall Deacon:
The Rev'd Jean Janes Office Secretary
These records are also available at the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL).
These Vital Statistics Volumes (DPHW) are available at PANL only.
These are the All Newfoundland Births - Vital Statistics Division microfilm available for this parish at the PANL for the period from 1891 to1926 for baptisms and from 1891 to 1922 for marriages.
The death records for this Parish start from 1857 onwards There are also microfilms at the PANL from the Vital Statistics Division from 1891 to 1949 for deaths.
Church used prior to this one was the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, St. John's.
A list of Pastors who have served the Parish of St. John the Evangelists:
From early 1800's to 1844 - visiting Clergy from St. John's came to the Parish.1860 - Topsail became a separate Mission Parish from Foxtrap
I would like to thank Howard Brown for sending me the brochure
Contributed by Barbara McGrath
Page Revised by Ivy F. Benoit (Tuesday April 21, 2009)
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