Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Friday, May 2, 2014

Where'd you Park?

Last Sunday I revisited Sophiasburgh, joining a group of lovely folks who'd been invited to tour some most worthy homes in the area. (more on that later.)

I had a bit of time to spare, so I tootled along Fish Lake road, looking for this well-maintained country church standing at a crossroads which once anchored the community of Bethesda. I recalled from an earlier visit the offset side tower with the bellcast roof and iron cresting, giving the place a decided dignity.

The Bethesda Church (1900) also features round-headed windows, a slightly less common version than the standard pointy-arch Gothic form. With tiny coloured panes following the sides and curve of the window. And two round-headed doorways.

But what endeared me to the place was the plain post and beam shed sheltering the yard to the right of the church. It had clearly caught the eye of the local heritage committee, for the church and the L-shaped post and beam drive shed were designated by Prince Edward County in 1999, commemorating "the only remaining original grouping of such buildings."

 Rural churches, like village halls, conjure farm families getting the Sunday chores done, dressing in their humble best, and turning out in wind, rain, snow and blistering sun and heat (for one didn't miss church), to be trotted to church by Bessie, or Pearl or old Joe, who had to be harnessed for the occasion, by the eldest lad.

 This old black and white photo of my dad as a young man comfortable behind a team of farm horses, gets me in touch with all that.

These sunny shots were taken along the Frankford-Campbellford road last September. (I realize as I post this spring that all of my photos are being taken on dull rainy days, it's that kind of year! Old buildings need sun and shadow!)


I interviewed two folks whose hearts resided on this stone mill farm called Fogorig, for the Winter 2013 issue of County and Quinte Living magazine. One of the many interesting features of the complex was a long low open shed housing some old farm implements. The owner identified it as part of the drive shed from Burnbrae church nearby, continuing  to be useful long after the congregation had no  further need of shelter for the team that had taken them to church.

In the stone mill on the property was a buckboard, which serves to remind us that in those forgotten horse-powered days, there were more steps to getting ready for church than just finding the car keys.    
St. Andrew's Presbyterian "Burnbrae"


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