St. Alban’s the Martyr Anglican Church - Ashcroft, BC
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 50° 43.319 W 121° 16.905
10U E 621284 N 5620316
The first church to be built in the Village of Ashcroft, St. Alban’s the Martyr remains as active as ever.
Waymark Code: WM10TYB
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 06/24/2019
Views: 2

Wonderfully well maintained, the edifice exhibits years of TLC applied to it, both inside and out. With the original 1891 pews in place in the nave, the interior is lighted by stained glass windows all around, all of relatively recent origin, the most recent being installed in 1981. While the church has retained many of its original artefacts, many can also be found in the Ashcroft Museum.

A prototypical Gothic Revival building, the original section of St. Alban’s the Martyr was built in 1891, with a hall and kitchen added much later. The nave is typically rectangular, with a front corner steeple/bell tower serving as entrance. Every one of the original openings are Gothic arched, including two rows of belfry vent openings, the bottom row of which is filled with keyhole cutouts, the top row having tiny trefoil cutouts above the arches. Inside the belfry is the original bell, which was imported from England. Interestingly, until Ashcroft's first fire hall was built in 1899, this bell did double duty, also serving as a fire warning bell. The greatest single expense incurred in the construction of the church, the bell cost the congregation a mere $100 less than did the entire building. Atop the belfry is a tall pyramidal steeple with slightly flared eaved, notably lacking a cross. In its place is a small, sharply pointed finial. Not having been upgraded, as are too many heritage buildings, the church still wears wood shiplap siding and its original wood trim.
Ashcroft's oldest church, St. Alban's Anglican Church was built in 1891 by contractor William Higginbottom for the sum of $500.00. Donations of gifts and funds provided the interior fittings, such as the Litany Desk and brass railings which came from France, and the hangings, altar frontals, brass cross and alms dish from England. The large stained glass window facing Brink Street was installed in 1981. The church bell, purchased in England for $400.00 was used to alert the community whenever there was a fire until the fire hall was built in 1899.
From the heritage plaque at the church
Following is some of the story of the $500 church, from Explore Gold Country

St. Alban’s the Martyr Anglican Church

Located on the corner of 5th Street and Brink Street, St. Alban’s Church was built in 1891 and is the community of Ashcroft’s oldest church. The Church was built on the land of the Barnes Estate, at a total cost of five hundred dollars. These funds were raised, donated and collected by a committee consisting of Charles Semlin, Philip Parke, James Haddock and Walter Langley. The construction was completed in three months by carpenter William Higginbottom, who also did the interior work crafting the pews, railings and altar.

Rev. A. Ramsey McDuff from Ireland was St. Alban’s first Vicar, serving from 1892 until 1893. During the incumbency of Rev. Anstey Dorrell, from 1896 to 1910, articles were received from St. Alban’s in London, with the support of the Old Country Society. The Church bell was also purchased in England. Many of the other furnishings were donated by local community members.

Funds were again collected in 1949, and the church was redecorated. Mrs. J. L. Clark, wife of the vicar, designed and hand painted windows to give the effect of stained glass. Today, an original of these hand painted windows is on display in the Ashcroft Museum. In addition to the décor update, structural work began with sound absorbent Donnnaconna tiles replacing the dark brown woodwork of former years, new roofing of red duroid shingles and exterior paint completed the renovations.

Ashcroft’s hot sun took its toll on the painted windows and these began to fade. The windows were replaced with stained glass replicating the same theme as Mrs. Clarke’s hand-painted ones. In 1991, St. Alban’s celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the building with the addition of yet another stained glass window, this one featuring scenes of Ashcroft’s transportation past.

Many of the original furnishings remain in St. Alban’s, including the pews built by William Higginbottom. Artifacts of Ashcroft’s early churches may be viewed at the Ashcroft Museum, where you can view one of St. Alban’s earliest organs.
From Explore Gold Country
Type of Marker: Cultural

Type of Sign: Historic Site or Building Marker

Describe the parking that is available nearby: Street Parking at the church

What Agency placed the marker?: Village of Ashcroft

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