History of St. John's Church, Parish of Horton
St. John's Church, Parish of Horton had its beginnings during the late 1700's through the work of the English Missionary Society, commonly known as the SPG - Society for the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts. The first missionary in this area being the Rev. Joseph Bennett who resided in Windsor. He was appointed missionary of the townships of Newport, Falmouth, Horton and Cornwallis at a stipend of 70 pounds a year.
From these beginnings gradually lands and responsibilities were divided and rearranged until St. John's Church was built in 1818 on lands donated to the Parish of Horton by Mr. Stephen Brown DeWolf. The deed is dated January 01, 1817 and describes the conveyance of the Church lot from Mr. DeWoff to the Right Rev. Robert Stanser D.D., second Bishop of Nova Scotia.
The church was built by Mr. Jehiel Brown and was completed in June of 1818. The first service being held on June 18th of that year.
The church and burial grounds were consecrated on August 10, 1826 by the Rt. Rev. John Inglis, third Bishop of Nova Scotia.
The building was originally constructed on the Georgian Architectural style similar to St. Mary's Church, Auburn, Kings Co. and Old Holy Trinity Church Middleton, Annapolis Co. Originally there was no chancel, the walls were plaster and the windows plain glass, rounded at the top in the Georgian Style. There was a gallery above the entrance which was at the west end with windows on either side. these have been replaced by lights which some have referred to as "window lights".
Sometime after 1887 major renovations were carried out; the gallery was removed, the plaster covered with wood. The entrance way changed. The windows were gradually replaced with stained glass.
Three crosses have been erected on the church building, the Latin cross on the bell cote, the Celtic cross on the east end of the nave and the Heraldic cross on the east end of the chancel.
The first baptism in the church was of Hannah, daughter of John and Barbara Hopkins on July 08, 1823.
The first marriage recorded was that of John Whidden and Lavinia Chipman, August 16, 1823.
The first recorded burial in the churchyard is that of Christian Jane Harris, age 44, July 20, 1825. All of these entries in the record book were made by the Reverend Joseph Wright. As far as is known this clergyman became the first Rector of the Parish of Horton in 1823.
In 1830, the center of Upper Horton area, known as Mud Creek, was renamed Wolfville.
The history of the stained glass windows is worth noting
The east window over the Altar was given by The Very Rev'd John Storrs, Dean of Rochester Cathedral, and his brothers and sisters in memory of their parents -The Rev'd: John Storrs, Rural Dean Avon and Rector of Cornwallis and Horton for 35 years and Melanie, his wife.
In 1891, the Mite Society fitted the church with plain stained glass windows. The Mite Society was a womens group which collected mites to pay indebtedness on repairs to the church. In 1944 this group was re-organized and renamed the Sanctuary Guild.
Over the years most of the stained glass windows donated by the Mite Society have been replaced with memorial stained glass windows. One original side window remains, along with the stained glass window at the rear of the church.
The stained glass windows tell their own story. Only a few of them have the date they were installed but one can surmise the approximate dates by the death dates of the persons honored.
Mary and Martha
To the Glory of God and in Honor of the women, past and present who have served this parish this was a gift of the ACW on the 175th Anniversary of the opening of the church. Dedicated in 1994.
In memory of Frederick Brown who died January 10, 1896 and his wife Lydia who died Oct. 10, 1903
They Shall See His Face
To the Honor and Glory of God: In loving memory of Joseph Dwight Sherwood: Born 1880, Died 1926.
Dorcas Full of Good Works
To the Glory of God and in loving memory of Georgina S.H. Wheaton who departed this life August 28, 1946. Installed by her family June 15, 1986.
To the Glory of God and in affectionate memory of Thomas Tuzo who for 40 years was an earnest and devoted member of this church. This window was placed by his many friends. Easter, 1899
To the Glory of God and in celebration of the children of St. John's Anglican Church. Gift of the Sunday School: Dedicated in 1999.
In addition to the stained glass windows one should note the memorial plaques which line the walls on either side of the church. There are also two Honor Rolls celebrating members of the congregation who gave their lives for Canada during the two World Wars, 1914 -1918 and 1939 -1945. In our memorial book to be found in the church the names of merchant seaman from this area of Nova Scotia who served during World War 2 are recorded.
Some interesting highlights through the years
In 1884 there is a record of the first attendance of a woman at an annual meeting of the Parish. It was not until 1910 that women were granted the right to vote at an Annual Parish Meeting.
In 1893 the Parish purchased land at the corner of Orchard Ave. and Main St. on which a Rectory was to built.
In 1899 the Rev. Richard F. Dixon was appointed rector of the parish, an appointment he held until his retirement in 1930. At this time the Rectory was sold to him at a price of $3,500.00 and the Sir Charles Townshend property located adjacent to and east of the churchyard was purchased for the sum of $5,000. 00. This home continues to be the Rectory for the Parish of Horton.
In 1900 a hitching rail was located along the eastern portion of the front of the church.
In 1912 a new furnace was installed with funds collected for that purpose.
In 1930 insurance was purchased for memorial windows, organ, church and furniture.
In 1951 the parish became self supporting.
In 1957 a committee was formed to have a new Parish Hall built. In 1960 this Hall was erected on the site of the old one at 189 Main St. Construction of the new hall represented the largest investment in buildings since the purchase of the Rectory in 1930.
A portion of the funds received from the Primrose Bequest in 1976 were used for construction of a cement walkway with steps and wrought iron railings to go from the church steps to the sidewalk. Now known as the "Primrose Path".
A Casavant Organ was installed in 1975 through monies provided by Miss Margaret Troyte-Bulloch in memory of her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Hugh A. Troyte-Bulloch.
In 1978 an addition was made to the Church and was undertaken with the assistance of Mr. Ronald Peck, an historical reconstruction architect. This addition features a baptistry, Sunday School rooms, a bathroom, a kitchen area and a large meeting room with skylights. It was dedicated on June 18, 1986 by the Bishop, the Right Reverend Leonard F. Hatfield.
In 1993 the 175th Anniversary of St. John's was cerebrated with a special service followed by a Garden Party on the church grounds.
2012 saw the sale of the parish Hall, with proceeds going to the renovation of both the rectory and the church.
In 2013-14, renovations took place in the church and in the communal space attached to the church.
June 2018 We celebrated our 200th Anniversary.
The parish has an active worship life, ACW group, Sanctuary Guild. The Parish and the Council committees carry on a number of parish ministry projects and also support various community projects.
Visitors and newcomers are welcome. We invite and encourage you to join us and take part in the life of our parish.