"St. Alban the Martyr UEL Memorial Church, a picturesque Gothic Revival Anglican church, sits on a hill above the road through Adolphustown. The church was designed by prominent Kingston architect Joseph Power at the request of Reverend R.S. Forneri as a lasting memorial to the Adolphustown Loyalists; the cornerstone was laid on June 17, 1884. With its round tower topped with open stone-work and a conical roof, irregular massing, and steep roof the building resembles the medieval churches which inspired the Gothic Revival style. The interior of the church - massive open timber work, stained glass windows and the decorative tiles above the wainscoting - conveys a truly ancient feeling, uncommon this side of the Atlantic.
|charming open bell-cote
I've also posted about the church and its treasures, in this post and again here.
One of the most important features of the church is the Loyalist tiles. Again I repeat myself:
"The interest in medieval architecture and craftsmanship (turning away from church design emulating non-Christian Greek and Roman models) marked the Victorian taste in church design. This interest ensured that the almost forgotten art of encaustic (inlaid) tiles was revived and modern assembly processes developed by Herbert Minton of Stoke-on-Trent.
From 1890-1909, under Canon Forneri's direction, 64 encaustic memorial tiles dedicated to United Empire Loyalists or descendants were purchased by subscribers and installed around the interior of the church. For decades, parishioners took the tiles somewhat for granted but as so often happens, a relative newcomer led the small but mighty congregation to see the treasure in the memorial tile frieze, and the need for restoration."
It was she whom I contacted late last summer, once I'd spotted an 'open for tours' only sign at the church. Sadly, she confirmed that the tiny congregation had agreed to close the church. What a heartbreaking decision. The fate of the church and rectory were now up to the Bishop. No-one expected the church to maintain an empty building for long.
Now some parishioners and friends are working to preserve St. Alban's, and its Loyalist history, exploring possible new uses for the space. It's true that churches frequently become private homes, and the occasional one does very well thank you as a museum, or a community venue. The Trenton area Old Church Theatre has become an art and performance venue that draws people from the whole Bay of Quinte Area. But St. Alban's possesses a rich treasure in the historic tiles.
|"Full of good works and almsdeeds." Good wives Elizabeth Smith...
|...and Augusta Pollard forever remembered. Both reached a fine old age."
|my inadequate record of the exquisite hammerbeam roof
The People on the Walls is the title of a chapter in Diane Berlet's book. The tiles around the church memorialize 64 of Upper Canada's Loyalist founders and their descendants.
Individuals so remembered ranged from members of government to "justices of the peace, judges, sheriffs, physicians and military leaders from both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812...to ministers of diverse faiths" to those recalled only by name, and birth/death dates. (page 20)
"The St. Albans tiles are in fact reminiscent of portions of the 13th century floor tiles which can be viewed in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey today. (page 14, The Loyalist Tiles of St. Albans, Diane Berlet, writer/researcher, Graem Coles, photographer.)
And those saints I mentioned in the title? They are the newly minted Friends of St. Albans. Click on this link for a document describing their goals for this amazing church. And get involved.
|praying for light to shine on St. Albans' next steps