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St. John the Evangelists Anglican Church Topsail

History of St. John the Evangelists
Anglican Church



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 - Topsail

P.O. Box 13033 Stn. Topsail
Conception Bay South, NL
A1W 2K1

Telephone #:
Office - (709) 834-2336
Rev. Hynes - (709) 834-4633

Fax #:
(709) 834-0236

e-mail address:
Rev. Hynes

Home Page:

The Rev'd Canon Howard Hynes

Honorary Assistant:
The Rev'd Canon Andrew Hall

The Rev'd Jean Janes

Office Secretary
Madonna Scott

Records available:

Baptisms/Misc(1830-1850)Box 1
Baptisms(1861-1907)Box 1
Confirmations(1884-1900)Box 1 (with gaps)
Marriages(1861-1890)Box 1
Marriages(1892-1935)Box 1
Burials(1857-1905)Box 1
Communicants(1861-1909)Box 1 (with gaps)
Ins for Church Box 1
Land Sale - Topsail  Box 1
Chamberlains List Box 1
List of People Box 1
Map of Chamberlains & Topsail Box 1
Opening of Paradise Church Box 1
125th Anniversary  Box 1

These records are also available at the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL).

These Vital Statistics Volumes (DPHW) are available at PANL only.
Parish:          Topsail
Place:           Topsail
Religion:       Church of England
Baptisms:     1880-1891     Vol 33     Reel No. C
Marriages:    1880-1891     Vol 33     Reel No. C

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.

Cemetery used:
St. John the Evangelist Cemetery located on the Church property

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

Rev. Benjamin Fleet (1845-1860)
Rev. Charles Palairet (1860-1867)
Rev. Edward Colley (1876-1904)
Rev. Robert Temple (1905-1911)
Rev. T.G. Netten (1911-1917)
Rev. Arthur Pittman (1918-1934)
Rev. W.A. Butler (1934-1943)
Rev. Evelyn Clench (1943-1949)
Rev. Joseph Goodland (1949-1959)
Rev. George Camp (1959-1964)
Rev. Sidney M. Bradbrook (1964-1974)(old church)
Rev. Sidney M. Bradbrook (1974-1977)(new church)
Rev. Wilson Tibbo (1977-1984)
Rev. Lloyd Collett (1985-1998)
Rev. Canon Howard Hynes (1998-present)

I would like to thank Howard Brown for sending me the brochure
with the history and picture of St. John the Evangelist Parish.



Contributed by Barbara McGrath

Page Revised by Ivy F. Benoit (Tuesday April 21, 2009)

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