In 1790 John Butler and Robert Hamilton wrote a letter to the Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia requesting a clergyman be sent to Niagara to establish a Presbyterian parish. In the letter it was noted that due to the lack of Clergymen, the first to arrive in the area would most likely gather the majority of Niagara inhabitants strengthening its congregation. John Butler was fluent in the Mohawk language and easily impressed Sir William Johnson who was the Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Sir William Johnson appointed Butler Lieutenant over the Indians. John Butler later moved up to Colonel with Lincoln Militia and died on May 13th 1796 in Newark (which was the old name for NOTL). Robert Hamilton was believed to have signed the letter to the Bishop partly due to his friendship and loyalty to Butler.
St. Mark's Anglican Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake was constructed in 1792 and is considered one of the earliest settlements in Ontario. The St. Mark's church was built on military ground that was already being used as a burial ground. The Church and its grounds were the only cemetery in the town until the 1830's so there are many well known political, social and clerical leaders buried there.
A few parishioners of the early church were Colonel John Butler, Sir Isaac Brock, Daniel Clause who was a representative of the crown to deal with the native people, Laura Secord, Joseph Brant, John Graves, Elizabeth Simcoe, Molly Brant and Phoebe Still. The church is also the burial site of a John Waters, a successful local African-Canadian politician, tavern-keeper and farmer, who lived in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and John McFarland, builder and inhabitant of the McFarland House. John McFarland was granted land by King George III and built his house in the early 1800s. The house is the oldest property owned by The Niagara Parks Commission.
Upon rebuilding the church the inside was treated with a more Gothic style while the outside remains more English Norman. The exterior has narrow round-topped window openings capped with voissoirs which are typically made from stone and are wedge-shaped pieces that form an arch and create support. Surrounding the north door of the old church is a replaced fallln stone in the memory of two men from the first Regiment of Lincoln Militia and one man from the 8th King's Regiment of Infantry, reminding parishioners of the lives lost the day Niagara was taken in 1813.
The historical church is a successfully functioning part of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The parish hosts many different events in addition to regular Sunday services such as weddings, funerals, baptisms, choir programs, community outreach programs, lecturers, concerts (hosts the Niagara International Chamber Music Festival), and guest Preachers.
Holy Eucharist is held at 8:30am on Sundays
Choral Eucharist is held at 10:30am on Sundays
Sunday School at 10:30am
The first Sunday of every month the service is moved up to 9:30am including Sunday School
Take the Queen Elizabeth Way East towards Niagara. Take exit 47 onto Ontario Stree towards Country Road-42. Turn left at Ontario Street (north) and continue onto Lakeshore Road and proceed onto Grant – Niagara Townline Road. Continue onto Mary Street, Turn left at King Street (northeast) and turn right at Byron Street (southeast). The Church will be on the left side.
From Fort Erie
Take the Queen Elizabeth Way towards Toronto, exit Glendale Avenue/Country Road-89 Towards Niagara-on-the-Lake. Turn right at Glendale Avenue, take the first left onto York Road and the first right (north) onto Airport Road. Turn right at Niagara Stone Road and take a right at Mary Street, left at King Street and right onto Byron Street. The church will be on the left side
In 1808 Reverend Addison sent a letter to the Crown declaring that the church was officially finished and could be consecrated. In 1812 the church became a barracks and a hospital for the British Army during the war, and in 1813 American General George McClure ordered the village to be burned as the Americans evacuated the town and went home. Retaliation of this invasion is said to have lead the British burning of Buffalo, the destruction of the American Niagara River and eventually the British Burning of Washington. In 1818 William Claus wrote to Bishop Stewart asking for funds to support the rebuilding of the church and in 1828, ten years later the reconstruction was finally finished.
St. Mark's Anglican Church: www.stmarks1792.com
Thomas, Owen A. (1995). Niagara's Freedom Trail: a guide to African-American History on the Niagara Peninsula. Canada: The Region Niagara Tourist Council.
St. Marks Anglican Church
|Phone:||(905) 468 3123|
41 Byron Street
St. Mark's Anglican Church
41 Byron Street
Tel (905) 468 3123