Every week, I share an excerpt from my Great Aunt’s book, As the Story is Told: A History of Morpeth and Community, which was printed in 1986. This week is the conclusion of the section on Trinity Church, and church history altogether. The Rectory described in this chapter was where one of my brother’s childhood friends lived. I knew it was the site where Archibald Lampman had lived, but didn’t realize that the actual house was a rebuild on the site of the original rectory.
The first regular incumbent of Trinity Church was the Rev. Henry Holland, B.A. who served from 1849 till 1854. He presented large confirmation classes on July 6, 1851 and July 7, 1854. The church was consecrated and the deed presented to Ira Cornwall and James Cushing Nation, Church Wardens, on July 7, 1854.
The Rev. Colin C. Johnson, who was appointed to the parish in the fall of 1854, became the first resident Rector. He built at his own expense a home on a lot on Erie Street, south of Morpeth. This property was later purchased by the parish for a rectory. Up to this time the parish had been in the Diocese of Toronto, but in 1857 it became a parish of the newly constituted Diocese of Huron.
In 1858 the Rev. Archibald Lampman, father of the famous Canadian poet, was appointed rector. He married Susannah Charlotte Gesner of Howard in 1860. The future poet was born in Trinity Rectory on Nov. 17, 1861.
The Rev. Lampman was succeeded in turn by the Rev. Mr. Wilson, the Rev. Wm. Brookman, and the Rev. Dr. Newton. The wife and son of the Rev. Mr. Brookman are buried near the east end of the church. The cross, dated 1872, marking the grave was erected by the ladies of Trinity Church.
The Rev. John Downie, B.D. was appointed Rector in August 1874 and remained until 1887 and, to the east, St. David’s Church at Clearville in 1882.
Yet this development did not seem to hurt Trinity. During this period it was not unusual for the ordinary congregation to number well over one hundred, entire families walking many miles to worship and filling the church to capacity. The gallery at the rear of the church provided seating capacity for the large choir led by Isaac Gardiner. Among the members of the choir were Mr. Gardiner’s two daughters and seven sons.
The Rev. Freeman Harding was appointed rector in 1887 and preached for the first time in the parish on Whitsunday May 29.
In November 1889 the Rev. S. L. Smith was appointed Rector, serving until July 1896. During his incumbency, in 1892, the old church was remodelled. The little vestry and the choir gallery at the back were removed; the chancel, vestry and choir room built within the church; the roof was raised to a higher pitch, the steeple reconstructed, the church veneered with red brick, an entrance porch added, and all nicely decorated at a cost of eleven hundred dollars.
The Rev. J.G. Hooper was Rector from August 16, 1896 to June 30, 1901. Following his departure there is no record as to who conducted services until Rev. Edward Softley was appointed on August 4, 1901.
Meanwhile, in 1898 under the leadership of the late Alfred Spencer, the cemetery was beautified. Weeds were cleaned out, stones straightened, the ground leveled and the grass cut.
The old rectory at Morpeth, having fallen into a bad state of repair, was razed and in 1902 a new rectory was built on the same site at a cost of $1261.70.
Following the departure of Mr. Softley in January 1908 the following students from Huron College took Sunday services – P.N. Harding, Stan MacDonell, H.F. Hutton, A.L. Charles, Joseph Tully, G.T. Richards and John Morris. Finally in July 1908 the Rev. Frank Whealan was named Rector and continued until January 1911. Again the parish was served by F. J. Jarvis, A. S. H. Cree, A. A. Trumper and W. B. Moulton, students at Huron College. The Rev. W. B. Hawkins was Rector from June 1911 until October 1915.
In September 1912 the church was closed for improvements for two Sundays. The windows were re-leaded, the walls redecorated, new carpet laid in the chancel and the aisle, and new hangings obtained for the lectern and pulpit. The church was re-opened at the Anniversary Service, Sept. 15, 1912.
In the same year, 1912, through the efforts of the late Albert W. Walters and J. W. Mason, then Wardens of the Church, a Cemetery Endowment Fund was established. In 1919 these men retired as wardens and in recognition of their interest in the cemetery were chosen the first trustees.
The Rev. A. W. Richardson was Rector from November 1915 until August 1917. For the month of September, Hugh G. E. Crosby of Huron College conducted services. The Rev. Walter Jones was Rector from October 1917 until April 1922. The Rev. F. V. Abbott was Rector from May 7, 1922 until November 1925. The Rev. T. W. Jones was Locum Tenens in the parish from October 1923 until April 13, 1925 while the Rector was in England on deputation work for the Colonial and Continental Society.
In the Rev. Abbott’s incumbency two important new church organizations were founded. On October 23, 1924 the Women’s Auxiliary to the Missionary Society was organized at the church by Mrs. Frank Anderson, Diocesan president. The first president was Mrs. Floyd Sifton and the first secretary Mrs. J. W. Mason. The A.Y.P.A. was also organized during this year.
The Rev. Ernest Jacques, Rector from Nov. 29, 1925 to June 22, 1930, showed his ability as a cabinet-maker by rebuilding the communion table and building a prayer desk. After the Rev. Jacques left, the services were in charge of Harry Garbutt, student at Wycliffe College, until August 31, 1930. He later served as a missionary in Nigeria.
It was on July 4, 1930 that the wife of the Rev. Frank Whealan, the former Hannah Stringer, sister of the late Archbishop I.O. Stringer, passed away. She was laid to rest in Trinity churchyard near the north corner of the church. The impressive funeral services being in charge of the Rev. Walter Jones and the Rev. C.L. Langford.
The Rev. R. M. Weekes was Rector from September 7, 1930 until November 18, 1934.
On Sept. 7, 1930 the memorial cairn, in honour of Archibald Lampman, the poet, was dedicated. (See Archibald Lampman Story)
A generous contribution from the late Thomas White was the beginning of a fund that erected a beautiful stone fence, iron gates and archway along Talbot Street, which was dedicated at the same time as the cairn.
On Easter Sunday 1934 the first surpliced choir was organized and an altar cross and vases, a fontlet and new hangings were dedicated by the Rector. On Sept. 9, at the 89th anniversary, new altar linens, the gift of the A.Y.P.A., were dedicated.
The Rev. T. M. B. Parker was Rector from Jan. 6, 1935 to June 11, 1939. In the summer of 1935 the interior of the church was redecorated, the furniture refinished and the hydro installed for the 90th anniversary services. The contractor was the late Leonard Mason and the hydro installation stands as a memorial to him as he passed away soon afterward. The Credence Table was made and presented by Edward Patterson and an altar book rest was placed on the altar at these services.
On Monday, Sept. 2, 1935 a parish gathering was held on the rectory lawn in further celebration of the 90th anniversary. The special speaker was the Right Rev. C. A. Seager, D.D., Bishop of Huron.
After the Rev. Mr. Parker left, the services were conducted by Walter Nudds, lay reader, who had assisted the parish in a similar capacity in times past. The Rev. W. N. Porter was Rector from August 6, 1939 to Feb. 23, 1941. The Rev. R. A. E. Ruch was Rector until Feb. 8, 1942 following which Mr. (later Rev.) E. S. Wells of Huron College conducted services until August 18, 1943. Philip Harding, son of the late Dean Harding, a student at Huron College, conducted services until May 30, 1943. On June 6, 1943, the Rev. H. L. Jennings was appointed Rector.
On Sunday October 17, 1943 the Sunday School was revived.
In the summer of 1944 a new carpet for the sanctuary and for the aisle was laid, and a new Reredos Curtain installed in preparation for the 99th anniversary.
One hundred years ago pioneers of all denominations joined hands to build the first religious edifice in South Kent. In keeping with that spirit, Trinity Church, throughout the years, through sedulously maintaining the doctrine and the ritual o the Church of England, has been more than a sectarian institution and its influence has extended far beyond the bounds of its own membership.
Serving all it is loved by all.
(An up-date – 1986)
In 1968 Trinity Church, Howard, was closed but still kept as a Memorial Chapel. It was used each year for a Memorial Service and occasionally on other special occasions. In 1981 a petition was sent to the Anglican Bishop of Huron Diocese, requesting the official re-opening of Trinity for regular congregational worship. This permission was granted and Trinity became an official ministerial point linked with the Anglican charge of Ridgetown and Highgate. Its present Rector is the Rev. Steven N. Oldham.