Holy Trinity Anglican Chuch
The first church in Bridgewater was built c. 1832, and called the Union Church – it housed the congregations of Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Lutherans in Bridgewater. Unfinished and exposed to the elements and local farmyard creatures, it was dubbed the "Lord’s Barn" by locals. In the early 1850s, this was sold to the Baptists, and they used it as their meeting place until a new structure was built in 1922. Each of the three congregations each consequently built their own church over the next several years. The Lutheran’s built St. Paul’s at the corner of Pleasant and Phoenix Streets c. 1858 , the current structure dating from 1906-1907 when a replacement was needed, as the original one had been struck by lightning and burned down. The Presbyterians built their church at the corner of Maple and St. Andrews Streets c. 1852, building a much grander building in 1874, both of which were demolished in the latter half of the 20th century.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church has survived intact and it is one of two original churches in town (St. Joseph’s Catholic Church dates from 1889). The Anglicans first started building their church in 1854, however, a windstorm destroyed the partially built building, so construction recommenced in 1856; by 1858 it was finished and consecrated.
The original structure is much the same as that which exists now. The one big alteration was in 1889, when the gallery at the top of the church’s tower was closed in with the present steeple. This was done in order to house the bell donated to the church by Judge Mather Byles DesBrisay, one of Bridgewater’s most prominent citizens. At the same time, his wife, Ada DesBrisay (née Harley), donated the series of four stain glass windows, the highlight of the church’s interior design. A Casavant pipe organ from the famous Quebec company was installed in 1902.
On the outside of the building, the most noticeable feature is the original board-and-batten siding. The church was built in a plain Gothic Revival style, just as it was catching on in North America. Inspired by medieval architecture, specifically the architecture of North America where wood was plentiful and stone was expensive, it was adapted to wood siding. Though later making use of clapboard and shingles, early versions used board and batten siding to try to mimic the overall aesthetic that stone would provide.
Also breathtaking are the lancet (spear-shaped) windows on the tower, with tracery inside of them to further form pairs of lancets. The design within a design, still with seemingly original glass, shows the craft of the early Anglican congregation. The large trinity window set within the frame of a larger cathedral-style Gothic window also adds a nice touch. Another thing to notice are the "returning eaves" on the front entrances. Though they were used in the Greek Revival architectural style, the polar opposite of Gothic Revival, they appear here, and their positions lend great belief to the fact that they were adapted locally for structural support as opposed to pure decoration.
Located in a quaint residential area of town, along Alexandria Avenue, the ambiance – complete with the remains of the original cemetery and headstones – is as preserved as the church is. In a growing community where streets were often named for local landmarks, Judge DesBrisay’s History of the County of Lunenburg, tells us the locals referred to the street which the church was on as Church Street; what better name?
Visit Nova Scotia's Official Heritage Website