St. Anne’s Chapel of Ease is a small stone church built in 1846-7 in the Gothic Revival style. It is considered one of the most important 19th-century churches in North America. The building was designated a national historic site in 1989 because of its architectural importance and material richness.
St. Anne’s Chapel of Ease reflects the early adoption of the principles of the Ecclesiological Society, an Anglican organization of British origin that promoted the use of medieval Gothic style church architecture as a model for parish churches during the 19th century. The Bishop of New Brunswick, John Medley, actively promoted the style in the design of Canadian churches beginning with his appointment as Bishop 1845. That year, Medley moved to British North America from England, bringing with him the young architect Frank Wills, who would design both St. Anne’s and Christ Church Cathedral nearby; both of which served as models for the principles Medley espoused. The interior of the chapel boasts beautiful carved butternut pews and the altar screen, a baptismal font of Caen stone from France, Minton encaustic floor tiles at the altar, as well as fine stained glass lancet windows created by two noted firms: Beers of Exeter and Warrington of London.
Famed hockey player Willie O’Ree lived with his family in the neighbourhood, and they attended St. Anne’s on Sundays. Full of the expected energy and mischief of a young boy, Willie carved his initials and his name in the rear of the 2nd to last pew – a visual clue of his presence in this house of worship where he also sang in the choir.
Photo Credits: HazelAB and St. Anne’s Chapel-of-Ease.