Churchwardens of St. Paul's church fonds

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Churchwardens of St. Paul's church fonds

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  • 1792-2007 (Creation)
    Churchwardens of St. Paul's Anglican Church, Halifax

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Physical description

3.757 m of textual records and other material

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Administrative history

The first two churchwardens of St. Paul’s Church, Halifax, were appointed in September, 1759. Since that time, two wardens (occasionally three until the mid-1980s, at which time the number was permanently set at three) have served as the principal lay officers of the church. Initially, their role was that of a figure of authority in both the church and community. Their responsibilities in the mid-18th century included patrolling the streets at the time of church services in order to apprehend truants. These duties were discontinued, but churchwardens retained responsibility for the financial state of the church as well as its properties. The main sources of income for St. Paul’s were historically the charging of annual pew rents from parishioners, and the leasing and rental of glebe lands. The responsibility for the lease and rental of glebe lands has alternated through the years between the Glebe Committee, the Rector, the shared responsibility of Rector, Churchwardens, and Vestry, and the Property Committee. Since the sale of most of the glebe lands in the mid-twentieth century, the Property Committee has dealt with current property ownership, primarily with regard to land ownership of the Parish House and the church building itself. The churchwardens of St. Paul’s are also responsible for the maintenance and alteration of the church and church hall. Construction of the church building began in 1750, with the first services held that year, and was completed by 1763. Sizable additions were added throughout the 19th century, with further renovations throughout the 20th century. The old St. Paul’s Hall, at 1718 Argyle St., was purchased in 1878 and, upon its demolition in 1976, the new Parish House (1760 Argyle St.) was acquired. Currently, St. Paul's elects three churchwardens at the annual meetings. Rather than having a rector’s and peoples’ warden, as is customary in most Anglican churches, the three wardens are all elected by the congregation, and each serves a three-year term. Many prominent Halifax residents have served as wardens of St. Paul’s Church. Notable names include those of Richard Bulkeley (1759, 1761), William Nesbitt (1759, 1761), Robie Uniacke (1880), Hon. Henry H. Cogswell (1842), and Charles C. Blackadar (1894-1895, 1920). Bibliography: Diocesan manual for parish & church officers. 1998: Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Harris, Reginald V. The church of Saint Paul in Halifax Nova Scotia: 1749-1949. Toronto: Ryerson, 1949.

Custodial history

Most of the records were stored in St. Paul's Parish Hall and moved to the Church following the demolition of the old Parish Hall in 1976. Some were moved to the basement of the Parish House,

Scope and content

Fonds consists of three series: accounts, personal papers and correspondence, and property

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Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred to the Archives in 1997.


When records were found in the basement of the Parish House, very little original order was evident and an order has been imposed by archivist. However where an original order is evident, it has been preserved.

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Records are available by appointment only.

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Finding aids

A database containing file-level and some item-level descriptions of these records is available in the St. Paul's Church Archives for staff use.

Associated materials

See also the Clergy of St. Paul's Church fonds and the Corporation of St. Paul's Church fonds.

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Further accruals are expected, both of historical and current documents, as the church is operational and the Archives Committee continues the ongoing process of accessioning, arranging and describing the inventory of the St Paul's Church Archives

General note

Includes 215 architectural drawings, 8 photographs (b&w), 1 map, and 1 model.

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