Historic Church

St. John the Evangelist Old Historic Church

The history of the Anglican Church in Topsail, Conception Bay South, dates back to the early 1800’s when the earliest settlers began moving into the area.

On February 13, 1860. John Harvey, carpenter, St. John’s, was engaged to build the framework of the Church. Numerous donations were received for materials to assist with the construction. On May 16, 1860, local carpenters, James Hibbs, John Barnes and Matthew Slade, laid the foundation. Consecration of the Church and Graveyard was on June 18, 1861. One of the most interesting aspects of the Old Church is its style of architecture and the natural wood, which has never been painted. Sir Edgar Bowring donated the beautiful stained glass window and oak reredos in 1923.

The first rector of the new Church was Reverend Charles Parairet who was appointed the first rector of the mission of Topsail in 1860. Rev Parairet made a long lasting contribution to the Parish and for people in the local region. The first baptism was recorded on June 24, 1861 as a private baptism of Ellen, born January 25th, daughter of John and Mary Johnson. The first marriage recorded was on November 15, 1861 between Simon Smith of Bishop’s Cove to Tryphena Beckford of Lance Cove. The first burial recorded was on June 30th, 1861, of William, infant son of William and Anne Squires, died June 28th, aged 4 days. The final rector to preside over the Old Church was Reverend Sidney Bradbrook who held the last consecutive service in 1974.

This unique building forms an important part of the heritage, religion and tradition of the Town of Conception Bay South. The Church is retained and up kept as a consecrated place of worship and also has received historic property designations from both the provincial government and the Town of Conception Bay South. Today, it is one of the oldest public structures in the area and is located off Route 60 at Spruce Hill Road / Rectory Road in Topsail.