Houses of Holy | St. George’s Anglican Church (1838)

This beautiful stone church stands right around a corner and is slightly out of a driver’s visual range. But this stone church occupies the historic village of Lowville, which is technically part of Burlington, but where the modern borders lay, the church is in Milton.

St George's Anglican Church (Lowville) (1838)
Graflex Crown Graphic – Fuji Fujinon-W 1:5.6/125 – Adox CHS 100 II @ ASA-100 – Adox Atomal 49 (Stock) 5:45 @ 20C

Anglican ministers started visiting the area in 1836, hosting non-denominational Sabbath Schools in a schoolhouse in Lowville. While these schools are not technically connected to a modern parish, they certainly helped support the area’s Anglican population. It wasn’t until 1856 that a Parish was officially established in Lowville. A plot of land was donated to the church by George Agnew to build a church and burial ground. The construction of a wooden frame church was completed by local volunteers using donated materials. Local circuit rectors ran the services, often supporting multiple congregations, with St. George’s being grouped with other Anglican parishes through Nelson, Carlise, Campbellville, and Waterdown. A set of horse stables were added to the property in 1869. Despite the location, the congregation grew close to outgrowing their frame church. Architect C.J. Gibson would design a new stone church. Taking inspiration from the country churches in England and sticking to the Gothic Revival style, the asymmetrical design was chosen. Stone would come from a local quarry on the Niagara Escarpment and sand carted in from Burlington Beach. The cornerstone was laid in a grand ceremony on 18 June 1896 by the Arch Deacon of the Niagara Diocese. George Thomas oversaw work, and the new church opened on 10 December 1896. The original frame structure was retained and converted into a Parish Hall and Sunday School. The need for more space in the cemetery forced the demolition of the original frame church in the early 20th Century. However, some of the wood from the building was turned into the hymn boards by George Gastel, which are still used in the sanctuary today. A significant storm on 21 March 1913 tore off the entire roof of the church. A small bell tower was added during the repairs, and the congregation returned in 1914. Another storm on 7 December 1919 caused significant damage, with repairs completed in 1920. In 1978, donations of land allowed for the construction of a parking lot and expansion of the cemetery. And several of the oldest markers were combined into a single memorial cairn to preserve these markers. A new parish hall and entrance hall were completed in 1990, adding a kitchen, offices, and Sunday school rooms. Structural concerns with the 1919 bell tower forced its removal in 2016, and a new tower was built and installed that matched the original. Today, St. George’s remains a two-point charge with St. John’s Anglican Church in Campbellville and is a beautiful example of the early Anglican church in the region.

St. George’s proved a complex building to photograph, mainly because of how the church sits on the property. Much of the sanctuary is obscured by trees, and another reason is that a tree occupies the ideal location to photograph. Knowing I wanted to focus on the historical sanctuary, I got a decent site that allowed the church to fill the frame and see the front and bell tower as the main focal points.

If you wish to worship with this congregation, they will be happy to welcome you! Please check out the congregational website for details on attending services worship either in-person on online streaming!

1 Comment

  1. I’m intrigued by the external wheel for the bell rope (and for the poor guy who has to go up there and maintain it). I used to go bellringing a bit many moons ago, something my wife got me into before we were married. Nothing fancy (her Mum is the one for that) but I did get as far as ringing a quarter-peel shortly after my eldest son was born. I’m afraid I haven’t picked up a rope for about 20+ years, but they say it’s like learning to ride a bike..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.