Showing posts sorted by relevance for query st. james. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query st. james. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Update from the St. James Anglican Cemetery project, Carbonear

Last year, Heritage NL was asked by one of our Registered Heritage Structures, St. James Anglican in Carbonear, to give some advice on their cemetery cleanup project (see past blog entries here). A year into the project, they've made great strides to cut back invasive bushes and trees, trim rose bushes, and expose some hidden stones and markers.  A big shout out to Judy Symonds who has taken the lead on this project, and to last year's summer students for their excellent and careful work.

Yesterday, I was back in Carbonear to help give some training on this summer's phase of the project. The cemetery has been partially mapped, with the majority of the pre-1900s graves transcribed. Several plots were left unfinished, and there are quite a few 20th century grave markers that have not been recorded at all. So I worked with their current batch of summer students, and taught them how to use the Marker Record Form designed by the Family History Society.  The goal is to finish recording the south half of the cemetery.

One of the intriguing finds made this year was of a First World War Memorial Plaque (sometimes called a Dead Man's Penny) firmly mounted on concrete. The plaques were issued to the next-of-kin of all British and Empire service personnel who were killed as a result of the war, but it is rare to see one used as a cemetery memorial.

The plaque bears the name William Stephenson, who might possibly be this person:

More to come as research and documentation continue!

If you want to learn more about the process of cemetery transcription, we are holding a Cemetery Transcription Bee Thursday, August 9th, 2018 at 9am in partnership with Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum. This combination workshop/documentation project will instruct participants on how to transcribe grave markers. You’ll learn about the DOs and DON’Ts of recording inscriptions, tombstone symbols and stone types, how to fill out cemetery marker forms, and assist the Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum in collecting tombstone information at the St. Francis of Assisi RC Cemetery.  Pre-registration required (right here!)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Volunteer Opportunity - Cemetery Cleanup at St. James Anglican, Carbonear

Volunteer Cemetery Enthusiasts Wanted!

We've posted here and here about the ongoing cemetery conservation project underway at St. James Anglican Church in Carbonear, one of the Foundation's Registered Heritage Structures. You can read about the designation of the building here.

This Saturday, July 29th, 2017, from 9am-12pm, the cemetery committee is organizing a cemetery bee! Volunteers are invited to come help with some of the brush clearance, and to assist with opening up the historic formal entrance pathway to the churchyard, which has become overgrown over the years. The plan is to be able to have the pathway cleared back by the end of the summer, and to re-open on the historic iron gates which have been shut for some time.  Members of the cemetery committee will be on site to talk about the church, the cemetery project, and what they've uncovered so far, and I'll be there to answer your questions about graveyards, tombstone symbolism, and the do's and don'ts of cleaning up your own historic cemeteries and churchyards. We might even be able to offer you a cup of tea!

This is an outdoor, hands-on activity, so please have appropriate clothing, workboots, gloves, hats, sunblock, bug spray, etc. If you have your own loppers/pruning shears/secateurs, bring them along. Just curious, and want to see what we are up to? Come for a chat!

The church is located at 13 Bond Street, Carbonear [click here for map] with plenty of parking to the north side of the church hall. See you in Carbonear on Saturday morning!

- Dale Jarvis

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

St. James Anglican Cemetery in Carbonear

Last week Dale and I went to Carbonear with Edwina Suley of the Baccalieu Trail Heritage Corporation. We were there to talk with volunteers from the St. James Anglican Church about their cemetery and help them make a plan for the future. While the more recent sections of the cemetery are easily maintained, the older sections which date back to the early 1800s, have become extremely overgrown. The group is looking to clean up the area to make it easier to maintain and to help preserve the history of the area.

Unfortunately in the cemeteries current state many of the headstones are difficult to access, making it hard to view some headstones, particularly those that are broken and continue to deteriorate.  

The church group is enthusiastic about beginning the project of clearing up the cemetery, even in knowing that it will not be a quick process. They are also interested in comparing the current cemetery with the church burial records, particularly with graves that do not have headstones. Some plots are marked simply with a fence, and other are unmarked entirely.

The cemetery is partially bordered with a stone wall and features a beautiful gate in one corner, both of which will need repairs in the future. Another interesting feature of the cemetery is a bronze sundial with cast iron pedestal. The sundial is located among the headstones, and marks the centre of where the old church once stood.

We look forward to the work that will be done to clean up this cemetery, and expose the history of the church and community for current residence and future generations.

~ Kelly

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Cleaning the Green Family plot, St. James Anglican, Carbonear

I'm in Carbonear this morning, assisting with the St. James cemetery cleanup. Here is the progress so far on the Green Family plot.


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A cemetery visit on Orangeman's Day - the grave of William Janes

Yesterday was Orangeman's Day in Newfoundland and Labrador, one of the curious provincial holidays that some people get off work, and other people know nothing about.  While the Heritage Foundation office was closed, I headed off to Carbonear for a meeting about a possible future oral history project, and a visit to St. James Anglican to meet with their committee about their cemetery cleanup project. We'd blogged about St. James Anglican before (read here) and today was the first day their student workers in place. So off I went to help them make a plan for removing brush, and to prioritize which sections of the cemetery they should work on first.

When I arrived, the students had already cleared away some of the brush from around the memorial stone for William Janes, work appropriate, perhaps, for Orangeman's Day. William Janes was killed in the notorious Harbour Grace Affray, and his marker reads:

Who was shot dead whilst
walking in an Orange Pro
cession at Harbour Grace
ON DEC 26TH 1883.

There is a detailed account of the affray here:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Doors Open St. John's returns for 2013

Guest blog post by Christina Robarts

September 7-8 from 10am-4pm
It’s that time of year once again for the annual Doors Open event. Every year various sites around the city of St. John’s open their doors to visitors free of charge. For those who don’t know Doors Open is a unique opportunity for citizens and visitors to the province to celebrate our heritage through the exploration of some of our hidden historical, architectural and cultural gems. Doors open events are community-wide, open-hours events which provide the public access to architecturally, historically or culturally significant or interesting properties, free of charge, within a given time frame. The places and spaces included may be those which normally charge fees, or are not usually open to or promoted to the public.

This year we have 16 returning favourites and 3 new sites:

16 returning favourites
  • The Newman Wine Vaults
  • Robin Hood Bay Waste Management Facility
  • James J. O’Mara Pharmacy Museum, Apothecary Hall
  • Basilica of St. John the Baptist and Basilica Museum
  • The Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
  • Clovelly Stables Community
  • Art Gallery at the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council
  • Central Fire Station
  • Crow’s Nest Officers’ Club
  • Quidi Vidi Plantation and Craft Incubator
  • Quidi Vidi Brewery
  • The Railway Coastal Museum
  • The YMCA of Northeast Avalon
  • St. John’s Farmers’ Market
  • Winterholme Heritage Inn and Spa
  • Suncor Energy Fluvarium
3 Sites participating for the first time
  • The Peter Lewis Gallery
  • Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Museum
  • FarOut Fitness
Admission is FREE to all sites. For more details about times and days of participating sites please visit , Like Doors Open Days on Facebook or @DoorsOpenDaysNL on Twitter or on Instagram @DoorsOpenNL.

You can also email Christina Robarts, Doors Open Days 2013 Coordinator at

This event is sponsored by: CBC, The Telegram, Newfoundland Historic Trust, City of St. John’s, Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canadian Heritage, and Heritage Canada Foundation.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

How old is the name Chain Rock? Older than you might think. #askafolklorist

The approach to St. John's in 1813, by Chappell.

Dale Jarvis, Heritage NL

I love placenames, and over the past decade of intangible cultural heritage work, local names for places come up time and time again in our discussions of local history. Sometimes those discussions of toponymy pop up in unlikely contexts.

Earlier today, an online discussion of the word “lazaretto” - an isolation hospital for people with infectious diseases, especially leprosy or plague, or a building/ship used for quarantine - included a reference to quarantine procedures on Signal Hill in this quote from the Evening Telegram (St. John's, N.L.) of 1892-09-30:
There is access to it by water and on two sides by land, by a path from the lazaretto, which can be made good enough for a horse at the expense of ten dollars, and by a road from Chain Rock, which is not finished yet.
That quote raised the following question from Twitter user Rick Magill:
I always assumed chain rock got its name during WWII when they had torpedo/sub curtains across the narrows. Clearly much older. Anyone know how and why it got its name?
Historian Dr. Heidi Coombs was quick to respond, stating:
They referred to Chain Rock during the 1832 cholera quarantine, so it’s at least that old. Ships were not permitted to proceed into the harbour beyond Chain Rock.
She also shared the proclamation requiring ships to anchor at "the first Buoy within Chain Rock," from the Colonial Secretary's Office -- Quarantine Letters, 1832-26 (GN 2/17) at The Rooms.

Going back a bit further, we find a reference to Chain Rock in the long-titled work “Voyage of His Majesty's Ship Rosamond to Newfoundland and the Southern Coast of Labrador: Of which Countries No Account Has Been Published by Any British Traveller Since the Reign of Queen Elizabeth,” by Edward Chappell and published by J. Mawman in 1818.

In February of 1813, His Majesty's ship Rosamond, commanded by Captain Donald Campbell with Edward Chappell as his Lieutenant, received orders from the Admiralty. They were to repair forthwith to Cork, Ireland, in order to collect the first spring convoy bound for Newfoundland, Halifax, and the St. Lawrence River. This, they did, arriving first at Cape Broyle, and then heading to St. John’s.  Of their entrance into the port, Chappell wrote,
At about two-thirds of the distance between the entrance and what may properly be termed the harbour itself, there lies a dangerous shelf called Chain Rock; so named from a chain which extends across the street at that place, to prevent the admission of any hostile fleet. Mariners, on entering this place, ought to be aware of approaching too near the rocks beneath the light-house point. At the time we sailed by them, the masts of a large ship were still visible above the water, that had a short time before been forced by the swell upon those rocks, where she immediately foundered.
By 1813, the name Chain Rock was already well-established Historian Paul O’Neill summarized one version of history of the Rock in his book The Oldest City, published in 1975. He writes,
About 1770 a heavy chain was stretched across the Narrows from Chain Rock to Pancake Rock, and it was the duty of the troops to raise this chain each evening so that an enemy vessel or privateer could not sneak into the harbour under cover of darkness. During World War I a chain boom was again put into use. In World War II the Narrows were protected by a series of metal mesh anti-submarine nets.
1770, however, is not the oldest reference to Chain Rock. Former Parks Canada historian James Candow, in his book “The Lookout: A History of Signal Hill,” notes that a plan of St. John’s Harbour from 1751 includes the placename. He writes,
The same 1751 plan includes an early use of ‘Chain Rock’ to denote the navigational hazzard in front of the old North Battery site, and to which the chain of the Narrows boom had been affixed earlier in the century. [emphasis mine]

Archaeologist Steve Hull of the Provincial Archaeology Office pointed out an even earlier possible date. This map, "Plan du port et du fort de Saint Jean en l'Isle de Terreneuve, 1726"  shows a chain across at least part of the mouth of the Harbour (see detail below).

The map key in the upper-right records R as follows:

"la chaîne qui empêche l'entrée aux vaisseaux" - the chain that prevents entry to vessels.

So, the name Chain Rock goes back at least to the early 18th century. An earlier map of the harbour, drawn by David Southwood in 1675, notes the locations of both North Fort and South Fort, but not Chain Rock. Any use of the name earlier than the 1700s would, for now, be based on speculation. A research project for a future placenames researcher!

Local folklore aside, the name is definitely, and dramatically, older than the submarine nets of WWII.

Want to know more about NL archaeology and history? You can read Dr. Amanda Crompton's report on her 2008 fieldwork around Signal Hill, which included work near Chain Rock, starting on page 21 of the PAO Report

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Do You Know of Any Metal Grave Markers in Newfoundland and Labrador?

On a recent camping trip to the New-Wes-Valley area, I visited the Lumsden United Church Cemetery and came across the headstone of William Tuff, son of William and Susanah Tuff, who died 9th of October 1847 aged 28 years. What caught my attention with this headstone was that it's made of cast iron. I have seen one other cast iron marker, at Bethany United in Carbonear, and a small sheet metal marker in St. James Cemetery, also in Carbonear.

In a 2012 ICH Newsletter article, Patrick Carroll wrote about the tin monuments in Bonavista Bay, which you can read about here. There are also a few interesting zinc (or white bronze) grave markers in St. John's. The hollow zinc markers have an distinctive blue-gray colour that is easily recognized once you know what to look for.

The zinc or White Bronze grave marker of Isabell and S.H. Parsons at the General Protestant Cemetery in St. John's

Do you know of any others metal grave markers around the province? Do you have a relative whose grave is marked with one? Do you know anything about the makers of these headstones, particularly the cast iron ones?

~ Kelly

Friday, September 7, 2018

Sangro, the 166th (Newfoundland) Field Regiment Monkey. #monkeylore

Here is your slice of offbeat Newfoundland history for the week, courtesy of the Newfoundland Quarterly (Spring Number 1945), all about a monkey and the 166th Royal Artillery:

A pet monkey that thrives on a diet of peanuts, roast potatoes, bully beef, milk and vermouth has been mascot of the 166th (Newfoundland) Field Regiment, R. A. for the past year.  
Named "Sangro " because she was found in an enemy gun position during the Sangro River crossing near Ortona last year, the monkey has long since been taken on strength for discipline, rations and quarters. Lance-bombardier Tasker Cook of Woodland Farm, St. John's East, who owns the monk, claims "she's as cool as any gunner in the battery. I hope I can bring her home with me."  
Before the war Bdr. Cook worked at dairy farming and though he admits he had many kinds of pets, a monkey is something new to him.  
Gnr. Jack Hayworth of St. John's and Gnr. Avalon Frampton of 5 Long Street, St. John's also bunk in with Cook and Sangro. Gnr. Frampton is one of the Monk's best friends- "She's a very clean monkey, and she has never had a flea since we got her."  
Before the war, Gnr. Frampton was a dry goods clerk at James Baird, Ltd., Water Street. He is a transport driver now with the regiment. His brother, Ralph, is in the Canadian Merchant Navy.

If you have a Newfoundland monkey story (maybe a memory of the Bowring Park monkeys?) I'd love to hear it! 

Photo: Royal Artillery Trainees, May 1940.  Fifteen signal trainees with nine officers outside Redford Barracks at Bollington. Archives and Special Collections (Coll. 217 3.04.001), Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The birch brooms of Samuel R. Spencer, Cul de Sac West.

One of my current folklore obsessions is the traditional Newfoundland birch broom. I've written about birch brooms on this blog before, and you can read about what a birch broom is (and see a video of Mr. Joshua Young making one) here, and more photos of the process here. If you are so inclined, you can also read an article I wrote called "Street Arabs, Drain Sweepers, and Birch Brooms."

The birch broom picture above belongs to Janet Edmonds of St. John's, and was made by her maternal grandfather, Samuel Robert "Young Sam" Spencer (1920-2001), originally of Cul de Sac West, a now-resettled community just east of Cape la Hune on Newfoundland's south coast. 

Photo of Samuel R. Spencer, courtesy Janet Edmonds.

"Young Sam" shows up on the 1921 Census for Burgeo & LaPoile District - Cul de Sac West, the son of "Old Sam" Spencer (born 1879). He show up again in the 1935 Census for the same district. He later moved to Channel-Port aux Basques, and is buried in the St. James' Anglican Church Cemetery, Barachois Hill, Port aux Basques. 

A few years before his death, he made a batch of birch brooms for family members and grandchildren, including one for Janet and one for her sister. Janet tells me that he was a bit of a craftsman, and liked to putter around making things, including a long-handled "pooper-scooper" so he wouldn't have to bend over while walking the dog. 

Mr. Spencer's birch brooms are very similar in style to those made by Joshua Young, who grew up in Grey River, only a short boat ride (20km or so) from Cul de Sac. The major difference between the two makers is that Spencer's brooms are tied off with wire, rather than the cord used by Young. 

Do you have a birch broom with a story? I want to hear it! I'd also love to track down some living birch broom makers. If you have ideas or memories, comment below, or email me at

- Dale Jarvis

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Heritage Update Summer 2018 - Documenting Traditional Places and Skills

In this summer edition of the Heritage Update newsletter, we are focusing on traditional skills and knowledge around our historic places. Jerry Dick writes about an oral history project to document the knowledge of traditional artisans and carpenters; Terra Barrett writes on “Remembering the Merchants of Main Street" -- a Windsor-based project which is part of the Virtual Museum of Canada’s Community Stories investment program; and summer intern Keith Burgess writes on the designated St. James Anglican Church in Battle Harbour Labrador.

Download the pdf here

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

#Folklorephoto of St. Lawrence Grotto

The detailed design work of Herb Slaney for the St. Lawrence Grotto. One of the technical drawings shown to us by his wife, Therese Slaney after her oral history interview with Dale Jarvis.

The completed Grotto which was dedicated by Archbishop James H. Macdonald on August 15th, 1995. Erected by the Priest, parishioners and friends of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish and designed by Herb Slaney.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Another peak inside the Marshall Building/Stott Vaults, 123 Water Street #nlheritage #architecture

This week, the NL Historic Trust reported on its Facebook page about the possible upcoming demolition of the old brick and stone vaults located at 123 Water Street, shown in the exterior photo above, from May 2005. The Trust writes:
"St. John's City Councillor Sandy Hickman said today that the developer of the new Alt Hotel - which will likely occupy the vacant lot at the corner of Prescott and Water, the former Marshall Brothers property - considered keeping the vaults on the property but they are not structurally viable."
The Trust included a link to a fabulous set of photos taken by local photographer Paul Kinsman, which you can check out here.

The Trust and Kinsman both refer to the vaults as belonging to the Marshall Bros. store, but the earlier history of the vaults is linked to a merchant by the name of Stott.

The entire area surrounding 123-125 Water was destroyed in the 1892 fire. Prior to 1892 there was a stone structure on the site, which possibly belonged to James Stott, a liquor and spirits dealer. As a result of the fire, Water Street was realigned, so the location of the later-day 123-125 Water Street did not sit exactly on top of the building site that was pre fire. The older structure was set back from the current street line. It is possible that these vaults belong to the stone building that was destroyed in the 1892 fire. This would explain rubble that was uncovered on top of the vaults during the demolition of the building above it, which may have dated to the period of the fire.

According to research submitted by Neachel Keeping of the City Archives on June 6, 2005, the building over top of the vaults was owned and let to a variety of tenants. From 1880-1918, the owner/occupier was James Stott, General Merchant (Stott rebuilt on same site after 1892 fire). From 1918-1921, the owner was still listed as James Stott, but from 1923-1963 it was owned by the Stott Estate (Stott died sometime between 1921 and 1923).

This is what the interior looked like in October of 2003, prior to the demolition of the building above it:

Additional photos taken November 2004:

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A Hudson Bay Company building, a historic community lodge, and two family homes: meet NL's latest heritage properties.

Heritage NL designates four properties as Registered Heritage Structures

Four historic properties in Cartwright, Pouch Cove, Fortune Harbour, and Summerside have been awarded heritage designation by Heritage NL.  The designations include a Hudson Bay Company building, a historic community lodge, and two family homes. 

The Cartwright Hudson’s Bay Company Staff House was built in 1926 for staff of the HBC under district manager (William) Ralph Parsons (1881-1956). Parsons, a native of Bay Roberts, began as an apprentice clerk with the HBC  in Cartwright at the age of 19 and soon rose through the firm’s ranks. The Staff House is believed to have been built by a crew from Coley’s Point, led by a Greenland, who had previously built a school in nearby Muddy Bay. In addition to staff and visitors of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the Staff House was home to a Newfoundland Ranger and his wife in the late 1930s.  During World War II the house was rented by the Royal Canadian Air Force for $15 per month, during which time two towers were erected on either side for use in aerial navigation.

The Pouch Cove Clifton Lodge (Society of United Fishermen’s Lodge #46) has the distinction of being the only SUF lodge built in the district of Cape St. Francis. The Lodge was founded in 1900 and named after James A. Clift, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in St. John’s.  The existing building was constructed from 1924 to 1926 to replace the original lodge that was opened in Pouch Cove in 1900. In addition to voluntary labour and donated building materials, its original construction cost was $700!  In addition to SUF meetings the building hosted Women’s Sewing Circle events, political meetings, trap berth draws, concerts, wedding receptions, soup suppers, dances, movie showings, and various other community meetings, social gatherings, celebrations and events, until the mid 1970s.  

Gillespie/Ballard House in Fortune Harbour was likely built for the Gillespie family sometime between 1830, when the first Gillespie (Mary Gilasby) was recorded in Fortune Harbour, and 1850. The house was purchased by Nellie Ballard, a native of the now-abandoned community of Fleury’s Bight, and has remained in the Ballard family for three generations. The Gillespie/Ballard House is an excellent surviving example of a true “second generation” style of saltbox. Houses of this type resemble earlier saltboxes in form but are generally larger in both footprint and height. On the rear, a continuous roof slope descends from the peak to a one-storey linny. 

Loder Homestead was first settled by John and Mary Ann Loder around 1850 when the couple moved their growing family from the area of Gilliams/Meadows to become Summerside’s first permanent residents. After some success in fishing, sawing, and boatbuilding the family built the present house in the 1860s or 1870s. By the 1930s, the Loders acted as general merchants for the area, and the house was continuously occupied by the family until the mid-1990s.

“The buildings that are designated are important parts of our history,” says Dr. Lisa Daly, Chair of Heritage NL. “They reflect multiple parts of our culture, such as mercantile histories, the fishery, and community partnerships and organizations, demonstrating varied architectural styles that reflect this place, our people, culture, and environment.”

Heritage NL was established in 1984 to preserve one of the most visible dimensions of Newfoundland and Labrador culture - its architectural heritage. Heritage NL designates buildings and other structures as Registered Heritage Structures and may provide grants for the purpose of preservation and restoration of such structures.