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St.Albans spire

I believe every summer should include a visit to some place you have never been before, even if that place is in near your very own backyard!

St. Alban’s was built in 1894 to commemorate the landing of United Empire Loyalists (“UEL”) 100 years earlier. Loyalists were settlers living in the States, who fled persecution during the American war of independence, because they remained loyal to Britain. There are UELs on my father’s side.

Sixty-six encaustic memorial tiles were commissioned by UEL’s ancestors to help pay for the building, and line the interior of the walls. The tiles are a rare examples of an ancient art form that experienced a brief revival in mid-19th century. The patterns and text are created with embedded coloured clay laid in indentations on an unfired tile. The tile is then covered with a clear glaze and fired for hours at high temperatures. These tiles will never  fade or wear off.

While stained glass windows have been added over the years, the church still boasts the original hand-carved wooden beams in the vaulted ceiling, and intricately carved pews, as well as ornate plaster work. The exterior of this tiny church was built using local limestone. The bell in the tower is believed to be the oldest in Canada.

This Anglican church has been closed, but a local group of history lovers are in the process of purchasing the church to save it and it’s long history. In an effort to promote this project, it has been opened to the public on Saturday mornings.

Discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust

Happy Wednesday!