St. Luke’s Anglican Church
When wandering along the streets of Placentia, one may venture upon St. Luke’s Anglican Church. Each Sunday, the church holds services. And yet, these weekly routines, common for many churches, belie the fact that St. Luke’s Anglican Church, a Registered Heritage Structure, has arisen from a deep and engaging history.
The most recent incarnation of the church was built in 1905. However, it replaces a church that was built in the 18th century (see photos added). And still deeper into the realm of history, this church was itself built on the site of the oldest Catholic church in Newfoundland. This original church was built in 1689 by the Récollets (Recollects) friars.
As with other places that have stood myriad tests of time, St. Luke’s Anglican Church has intersected the people whose names are written on the roster of history. The surrounding cemetery provides excerpts from this roster, quietly speaking of the lives that have peopled Placentia in the past. Reaching back into the initial development of Placentia, Basques headstones (now on display at the O’Reilly House Museum), tell of those who are believed to have been the first people, from what is now Europe, to have fished in the area.
Other individuals have also been woven into Placentia’s history. The headstones speak of Richard Welsh, a well-known figure who hailed from New Ross, Ireland and in 1753, began what was to become a successful merchant firm in Placentia. They also tell of people such as Sir Joseph Blackburn or Elizabeth and William Hobson whose memories are also affirmed in the cemetery. And in addition to these individuals, the English royalty of the 18th century also left its mark when Prince William Henry (later King William IV of England) came to Placentia as a Magistrate. In 1786, he presented the church with a silver Communion Service and a Coat of Arms. While the Service is now at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in St. John’s, the Coat of Arms is still to be found hanging in St. Luke's Anglican church (see photo).
Although its history stems into the eighteenth century, St. Luke’s Anglican Church has continued to illustrate its position in the current history of Placentia. Periodically, an array of events are held at the church. For the past four years, a Christmas concert entitled, “Winter Solstice” has showcased the talent and creative excellence of local artists of all ages. Additionally, throughout the summer, as part of a walking tour around the places that reflect Placentia’s heritage, students from various schools are invited to explore and learn of the history that imbues St. Luke’s Anglican Church.
Clearly, this small church is enfolded in a rich and deep history that has encompassed numerous lives — past, present, and future.
(credit: Lee Everts - www.placentiapastpresent.ca)
Hours Open: Access to view the building is upon request. Church services are every Sunday at 11am, 3pm, or 7pm
Time Period Represented: Early 20th century
Seasons Open: All seasons
Visitor Fees: Free. Donations greatly accepted.