Sunday, July 22, 2012

Historic Leith Church - July meeting

Once a Presbyterian church "auld kirk" built in 1865 and later a United Church until 1969, Leith Church was restored and is being maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers known as the Friends of Leith Church.

It is this group that welcomed the Grey County Historical Society for its July meeting.

When you walk through the doors you step back in time. Although, there are modern updates much what you see replicates what it was like when people worshipped there. Cameron Graham and Pete Telford shared the story of the church and the work that was done to restore it.

On the opening day of the new church building back in 1865 on property donated by Adam Ainslie, two services were held, one in English that attracted 300 worshipers and the other in Gaelic that saw 200 in attendance. This was in January! Imagine the difficulty getting there when the roads weren't plowed. Cameron painted us a vivid picture of what it must have been like with no lighting. The first minster who arrived as a student, Alexander Hunter, was a dynamic preacher. Unfortunately, he died in 1869.

The group's website tells the story of the church and the restoration work that was done. When the group began its work, the building was in great disrepair. The photos show the work that was done.

Currently, three church services are held each year. The building is also used for concerts. It has great accoustics.

The churchyard holds the Leith Cemetery. Noted artist, Tom Thomson is buried there. Many of the former residents are buried there. A binder containing the listings of all buried there is available to help visitors locate graves of interest.

The website also has this information posted in the section about the Cemetery.

Note the box pews.
The stained glass window shown above is a more modern addition and when the restoration work was done, it was kept in place as it had been featured as a Christmas postage stamp.

Thank you to all those who worked to restore and preserve this wonderful part of our local history.

Second and fourth photos courtesy Paula Niall.

No comments:

Post a Comment