Monday, November 28, 2022

The Formation of a Masonic Lodge in Twillingate: 1889 Meeting Minutes

This small book of meeting minutes circa 1889 is about the formation of a Masonic Lodge in Twillingate. It was given to Heritage NL to be documented. Included are the names of founding members, mention of scripture and prayer, appointment of roles to individuals, and monetary donations to fundraise for the building of the lodge. 

Take a look at the document on Memorial University’s Digital Archives Initiative by clicking the following link:

Headstone Art at the Old Blackhead Methodist Cemetery


Throughout the Old Blackhead Methodist Cemetery there are several different decorative motifs visible on the headstones. This article will highlight some of the most common ones.


Fig 1: Headstone with motif of two clasping hands and a Calla Lily

Two of the most typical motifs throughout the Old Blackhead Cemetery are hands and flowers. In figure 1 two hands are clasped, a very common headstone design. In some cases you can see the difference in the two hands cuffs (figure 2) indicating they were husband and wife. 

Anther motif typical in the Blackhead cemetery is flowers, in figure 1 a Calla Lily which often symbolizes marriage.

Fig 2: Headstone motif of two clasping hands with different cuffs

Hands can also be pointing, either up towards God/Heaven (figure 3), or as the hand of God pointing downward symbolizing mortality (figure 4).


Fig 3: Grave motif of a hand pointing up

Fig 4: Grave motif of a hand pointing down 

Fig 5: Books, specifically the Bible, are also a recurring symbol. 

All photographs are credited to Heritage NL and were taken at the Old Blackhead Methodist Cemetery.


Friday, November 25, 2022

New Fieldnotes Article about St. George's Courthouse

Original building plan for the exterior of the St. George's Courthouse
(Scan courtesy of the Rooms)

Learn more about the early history of the Bay St. George region and the St. George's Courthouse in Heritage NL's most recent fieldnote.

View Fieldnote here

Additional publications on NL's historic places available here. 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Mortuary Mondays- Causes of Death at Blackhead Cemetery

While transcribing the death records from Blackhead cemetery, I noticed several causes of death you wouldn't see in modern times.

Blackhead Cemetery

"Consumption," now known as Tuberculosis, was a common cause of death in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Another common cause of death was "La Grippe," more commonly known as Influenza.

Bay De Verde Death Register 1891
Bay De Verde Death Register 1891

"Scarlatina," commonly known as Scarlet Fever, also appears as a cause of death in Blackhead cemetery throughout the 1890s. More unusual causes of death include "Dyspepsia," which is typically known as Indigestion, and "Gravel and Stone," which probably refers to Kidney Stones. 

Bay De Verde Death Register 1895
Bay de Verde Death Register 1895

You can read more about the Bay De Verde vital statistics here:

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Heritage NL receives Community Builder Award from the NL Association of Professional Planners

Lara Maynard, Heritage NL Heritage Skills Training Coordinator; Andrea O'Brien, Heritage NL Municipal Outreach Officer; Julia Schwarz, NLAPP President.

In celebration of World Town Planning Day 2022, Heritage NL has been awarded the 2022 NLAPP Community Builder Award for making heritage relevant to the present day. The award is presented by the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Professional Planners, the provincial membership body for professional planners.

Heritage NL has been running a long-standing heritage grant program, and an annual heritage poster contest in schools. It has expanded its community outreach for public workshops and events. The NLAPP Nominating Committee’s recommendation reads:

“Heritage NL is making heritage relevant to the present day in terms of housing, economic activity, community involvement, cultural awareness, historical memory, and place-making.  Along with a long-standing heritage grant program and annual heritage poster contest in schools, Heritage NL has been expanding its community outreach for public workshops and events – everything from documenting and cleaning headstones in graveyards to holding community story-telling days and building wooden wriggle fences.  Heritage NL has published a booklet of historic paint colours, mapped community assets in workshops with residents of many NL communities, and helped plan for adapting and reusing old buildings to new uses.  This work is the very definition of community building, with a planning lens to shape it.”

Heritage NL was established in 1984 to stimulate an understanding of and an appreciation for the historic places and living heritage of the province, through projects that support local economic development and tourism. The foundation also has an educational role and coordinates events, publications and other projects designed to promote the value of Newfoundland and Labrador heritage. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Heritage Update: Berry Barrels, Killicks, Courthouses, and #TwineLoftTuesday!

Photo: Henry Charles Burgess (1922-1995) standing in Burgess Lane with a cow that provided milk and butter. Courtesy Burgess Family. 

In this edition of our heritage newsletter, we have an update on the Fowler House restoration in Brigus; a story about our recent killick-making workshop in Torbay; research on the historic St. George's Courthouse; and an article from Robert Burgess on food production and storage traditions at the Burgess Heritage Property, Whiteway, NL.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Living Heritage Podcast Ep220 Mentor-Apprentice Program: Duffle Work with Joyce Lee and Miranda Rumbolt

Duffle with embroidery. Photo submitted by Joyce Lee and Miranda Rumbolt.

In this episode we talk with mentor Joyce, and apprentice Miranda who are two participants of Heritage NL’s Mentor-Apprentice Program. Joyce is an award winning wildcrafter whose dedication to the conservation of Labrador's traditional crafts is only matched by her immense talent. Joyce has demonstrated and taught her skills in workshops across Labrador and has helped bring duffle work back to Labrador, by completing workshops from Labrador City to Lanse au Clair. Miranda is a novice artisan of duffle work, a craft that uses a pure wool fabric to create mittens, slippers and more. She is well versed in traditional Innu crafts such as Tea Dolls and Beadwork. Miranda is currently employed at the Great Caribou Studio in Mary's Harbour where she has been focusing on beadwork and has had the opportunity to sell her art.

### Living Heritage is about people who are engaged in the heritage and culture sector, from museum professionals and archivists, to tradition bearers and craftspeople - all those who keep history alive at the community level. The show is a partnership between HeritageNL and CHMR Radio.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Introduction to Oral History Workshop, Twillingate, Oct 18th.


Introduction to Oral History Workshop

Tuesday, Oct 18th, 2022
1pm - 4pm
Twillingate Masonic Lodge

Calling all budding folklorists and armchair historians! This workshop is open to anyone with an interest in local history, culture and folklore, and who wishes to learn more about safeguarding our heritage using oral histories. The course will give a brief background on conducting research interviews in the field and explore the practical matters of creating effective oral history research projects, project planning, interview questions, ethical issues, and recording equipment. 

The workshop will be taught by folklorists Dale Jarvis and Terra Barrett of Heritage NL ( 

For more information, contact Dale Jarvis at 

The workshop is free, but limited to 20 people. 

Register at: 

Monday, October 3, 2022

Twillingate Masonic Lodge searching for historic photos


Twillingate Masonic Lodge is asking for the public’s help in documenting the history of their designated heritage building. 

Twillingate Lodge is collecting photos to populate a photo archive that they hope to make available to the public in 2023 or 2024.  Twillingate Masonic Temple was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by Heritage NL in 1998 due to its aesthetic, historic and cultural value.

The Lodge is looking for photos of:

  • The building at any time throughout its long history or photos of the Old Court House that was the home of Twillingate Masons from 1889 to 1907.
  • Former and current members of the lodge in their regalia at formal events. 
  • Masons participating in any community event - regalia or not.
  • Any old documents pertaining to Twillingate Lodge or of its members.

Heritage NL is assisting Twillingate Lodge in this initiative. By sharing any pictures or documents that you have, you will be helping preserve this aspect of our heritage for future generations. The public is invited to drop by the Lodge and Heritage NL staff will scan your photo or document. Originals will be returned during the event. 

When? Wednesday, October 19th

1:30 - 4:30 PM and 6:30 - 9:00 PM


For more information:

Bro. John Holwell
Secretary, Twillingate Masonic Lodge